Pei-kung She was collecting taxes for Duke Ling of Wei in order to make a set of bells. He built a platform outside the gate of the outer wall, and in the space of three months the bells were completed, both the upper and lower tiers. Prince Ch'ing-chi, observing this, asked, "What art is it you wield?""What art is it you wield?" The answer is different for each of us!
Pei-kung She replied, "In the midst of Unity, how should I venture to `wield' anything? I have heard it said, When carving and polishing are done, then return to plainness. Dull, I am without understanding; placid, I dawdle and drift. Mysteriously, wonderfully, I bid farewell to what goes, I greet what comes; for what comes cannot be denied, and what goes cannot be detained. I follow the rude and violent, trail after the meek and bending, letting each come to its own end. So I can collect taxes from morning to night and meet not the slightest rebuff. How much more would this be true, then, of a man who had hold of the Great Road?"
~ Burton Watson translation ~
Each one of us is good at something. This something might be nuclear physics, law, cooking, poetry, juggling chainsaws or smiling. The artistry comes when we no longer need to concentrate on concentrating on that which we are focused on.
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