The Uncarved Block

I’m in a philosophical mood today. The following excerpt comes from the book SIMPLE TAOISM –  A GUIDE TO LIVING IN BALANCE by C. Alexander Simpkins PH.D. and Annellen Simpkins PH.D. Give some thought as to how this relates to your attitude toward your writing, your karate, and your everyday living.  

Imagine for a moment that you are an accomplished woodworker. You look at an uncarved block of wood with a certain affection, knowing that here is uncreated potential. As an uncarved block it can be anything – the possibilities are infinite. No one can name it because it has not yet become something except what it is in its natural, untouched state, much like Tao.

The Taoists believe that we return to a state like the uncarved block of wood, we find Tao.

Human beings are often in a hurry to acquire the finished product, the carving. But once the item is produced the limitless Tao is lost. A carving of an object is only that one thing. It has a name. It has come into existence. Eventually it will become worn, broken or lost, going through its cycle of existence-nonexistence. But the original uncarved block is nameless, beyond definition, quietly open. The sage tries to be like an uncarved block, open to potential without being limited to one definition.            

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment.

~K.M Fawcett

2 responses to “The Uncarved Block

  1. I hate to say this but this passage confuses me. It tells me that in order to keep an infinite potential, one should not do anything? To me, we strive in our lives to build ourselves to make a better life. Whether we build on our karate, writing or other skills.
    Yes, we may need to return to our roots in our endeavors. Nor can we gain immediate satisfaction in them. Yet, one can enjoy the journey as one perfects their skills.
    I know I would not gain perfection in either my martial arts or my writing. That is because I believe we need to continue to learn and hone our crafts. That does not mean that we as Martial Artists or Authors don’t exact a measure of success in our endeavors.
    The first time one teaches a student and the student learns is a great feeling. Having that first book published after years of honing one’s writing skills is satisfying as well. (Have not accomplished this just yet.) But those feelings can be fleeting. One needs to continue to grow or risk losing joy in life.
    Just some of my thoughts on the subject. I hope I did not confuse others.

    Dennis H. Clarkston
    AKA Clark Stone

  2. I like the idea of that. Unformed is how I tend to think of a book before I start it, though sometimes that’s paralyzing. Once I start writing, I’ve chosen a direction, which means I’ve now lost the initial feeling of endless possibilities. I definitely need to focus on enjoying the process, and worry less about the outcome or how long it takes to get there.

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