The calligrapher readies the tools, the symbols of presence. Brush, brush rest, ink stick, ink stone, fibrous paper like skin, mind like water.
The chef gathers the ingredients and the instruments. Garlic, peppers, spices, salt, fish, oil, vegetables, knives as sharp as attention, spatula as sturdy as legs, wok that reflects the world.
For any task, there is preparation. For any effort, there is first an assembly.
I feel myself wake up, the spindly tufts of dream still caught in fresh branches, drifting in neither one world nor the other. Uninterrupted sleep for the first time in weeks, and the cold, north-western wind has brought with it a certain breath of calm. I feel like I woke up moments before, and am running through the illusion of doing so again.
Released like this into the light, as black ink sliding into clear water, I realise that I'm arriving somewhere. The waker readies the tools and capabilities left behind last night: the five senses, a sense of self, the space created by time, a gentle smile.
The day begins, unscheduled on a calendar, as certain and unknowable as each other. To enter into daylight is to become responsible to it. The duty of waking. The practice of being present. We need our wits about ourselves, attentive and dismissive to the last.
The array of sigils for any activity is important, symbolic, life-changing even. There are reasons for Japanese tea ceremonies to revere the whisk and the bowl. The right tools for the right job.
But what is more important is what is not here. The curation of what remains implies a removal, the filtering out of the unimportant, a dismissal and discarding that goes against the grain of absorption. More this, more that - better to have, than to have-not? But so much baggage - is it better to be confused than to be clear?
From making toast to planning a company. From brushing teeth to writing a book. Arrive first, and everything follows.
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