Saturday, November 17, 2018

May you be surprised

Rondanini Pietá by Michelangelo

To the left is a photo of the heads of Jesus and Mary from an unfinished marble sculpture of the Pietá that Michelangelo was working on just before he died.  The full-length sculpture is on display in its own room at the Rondanini Museum in Milan, Italy.  Unlike a finished sculpture, it holds many possibilities in its rough, chiseled surface, and moves me with its clear depiction of love and grief.

This morning I was interviewed for a documentary about mastery, by students from Harvard Extension School.  The interviewer asked me what a master is, and while I don't remember exactly what I said, it was something like this:  A master is someone who never stops learning, who is continually amazed by life, and stays open to all possibilities.  This is a quality I encourage in all my students, and in myself.  The capacity to see life as fresh and new in each moment is the hallmark of artists and Zen practitioners.  As my first Zen teacher told me once, "may you be surprised."

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