The secret of Art

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Woodworker Qing carved a piece of wood and made a bell stand, and when it was

finished, everyone who saw it marvelled, for it seemed to be the work of gods or spirits.
When the marquis of Lu saw it, he asked: “What art is it you have?” Qing replied: „I am only a craftsman – how would I have any art? There is one thing, however.
When I am going to make a bell stand, I never let it wear out my energy. I always fast in order to still my mind. When I have fasted for three days, I no longer have any thought of congratulations or rewards, of titles or stipends. When I have fasted for five days, I no longer have any thought of praise or blame, of skill or clumsiness.
And when I have fasted for seven days, I am so still that I forget I have four limbs and a form and body. By that time, the ruler and his court no longer exist for me. My skill is concentrated and all outside distractions fade away.
After that, I go into the mountain forest and examine the heavenly nature [of the trees]. If I find one of superlative form, and I can see a bell stand there, I put my hand to the job of carving; if not, I let it go.
This way I am simply matching up heaven with heaven. That is probably the reason that people wonder if the results were not made by spirits

Daoist Tales by Zhuangzi

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