noun. (Buddhism) A spiritual awakening, often coming suddenly.
Sitting on the back deck this fine Thanksgiving morning, feeling
grateful for all thats been given me, and got to reflecting on all of
those moments during my wanderings through this edenic world of
woodworking that have enabled me to free myself from old ways and
given me the inspiration to grow, to do, to be, better.
There was a singular moment that changed my woodworking life. It was
long time ago, but I remember it like it happened yesterday,
and it never fails to make me smile. It was the moment I realized I
didn't have to be a slave to measuring devices.
I was trying to divide something _exactly_
in half. I'd done the
math, using some crappy ruler I'd probably had since kindergarten, and
with the fractions involved, and the "how do I account for the saw
kerf" thing clouding the issue, I'd managed to botch up a couple of
tries. I'd also managed to half convince myself that this woodworking
thing wasn't going to be something I was capaple of doing and I
probably should just give it up.
I got another board, threw the ruler on it, and looked down at the
most amazing revelation since... ever.
You know what's coming, of course. The ruler wasn't square with the
board, it was laying across it at an angle. There were BIG,
HUUUUUUGE, inch marks at each edge of the board. Not little 16ths,
not little indecipherable spaces between the 16ths, but _inch_
I put a mark at the halfway point, moved the ruler farther down the
board, did it again, connected the lines and cut that board right down
I realized that day that it wasn't my woodworking ability that was
flawed, it was my thinking. I didn't need to know what half the width
of the board was, I needed to know _how_
to cut it in half. They're
not the same question at all. If I'm ever going to get the right
answers, I first need to ask the right questions.
That moment was start of a lot of requestioning and today, (although I
own a lot of them), I rarely use tape measures. I use sticks. A lot.
When I build the barn doors later today for the shop, I won't care how
tall the opening is. I'll grab two sticks and a c-clamp and _know_
how tall the doors need to be. The hinges will be right the first
time, because I'll lay them out on the sticks first and use _the
to mark the doors and the frame. None of this will involve me
knowing how long or far anything is, because that's not the question.
The question is "Where do they go?" And I'll _know._
Simple. The best, and most useful, ideas and techniques usually are.
It's only my ego that gets in the way. And for realizing that, and
being willing to change, I'm grateful.