Of the oldest forms of art practiced today is carving. Chiseling and cutting into any material hard enough to keep a form after the removal of parts of it. Materials such as wood, stone, ivory, bone and gourd were used to create items of both function and beauty, since the beginning of man. A timeless craft still employed by modern sophisticated artisans alike.
What I appreciate most about this form of art, is that unlike most others, it realizes beauty by taking away from rather than adding to something. It recognizes the inherent beauty which exists within the material itself. The artist thus needs not add anything but instead chips away to extract that beauty.
A Metaphor for the Refinement of Character
This process of refinement is synonymous with the human condition. There comes a time on every seekers journey, when whats required is no longer accumulation but rather shedding. Refining ones character by stripping away that which blocks ones inherent beauty from shining through.
Gently scraping away, careful not to compromise strengths. Removing many layers of contaminating conditioning accumulated over a lifetime. Rough and jagged like the bark of the wood or surface of the stone.
What then remains reveals intrinsic beauty, polished and refined. Without losing any appreciation for what it was before, for without that it couldn’t be what it is now.