“Capability is like a water table below the surface of the earth”.
If you want to do something badly enough, tap into yourself and reach inside for the energy, capability and talent laying dormant within you. Like lava bubbling deep within a volcano, there is the potential for that energy to rise to the surface. With effort and desire, one is capable of attaining what was thought to be impossible. Natalie Goldberg illustrates this idea in her book, “ Writing Down the Bones, Freeing the Writer Within.” She tells us in the words of Katagiri Roshi, that “ Capability is like a water table below the surface of the earth.” No one owns it, but you can tap into it. You tap it with your effort and it will come through you.”
Katagiri Roshi was the founding teacher of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and Hokyoji Zen Practice Community and taught at the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center as assistant to Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Katagiri Roshi was born in Japan, where he became a monk at the age of eighteen. He practiced at Eiheiji monastery and Taizoin temple, received a master’s degree from Komazawa University, and worked in the international division of Soto Zen headquarters before coming to the United States in 1963.
Katagiri Roshi touched the hearts of people everywhere with his engaging manifestation of the Buddha ( and Zen) way. Although he died in 1990, his teaching lives on in audio recordings of his talks, and books that have been developed from them.
Natalie Goldberg is known for “wrestling Zen and literature into her own life”. Sprinkled through out her book, are her rich themes of “finding out who we are” and conveying this through our writing (or painting or whatever means works), by practice and effort.
“Writing practice brings you below the surface to really meet what you see, think and feel. And you keep meeting that and you build a spine, and you find out who you are. Because when we live in discursive thinking, we’re just lost. By going to that lower layer, we become who we are. “ she explains.
“ Really, it’s about Zen practice and backed by 2,000 years of watching the mind. In business [as in everything else,] you have to have integrity. You have to know who you are, where you stand, and what you want.”
In the words of Natalie Goldberg, ”We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important.”
The author / poet/ painter tells us; “You can have the confidence that you will gradually acquire the technique and craft that you need.” However, I do believe you must first find your energy, rediscover yourself, wet your desire, dig deep and practice. Trust your instincts. Trust yourself. And -in writing, trust your “voice” to direct you. With effort, desire, perseverance and practice, you CAN tap into “ the water table below the earth”.
So get out your pen, or your paint brush, or your violin, or your shovel, or your ice-skates and practice, practice, practice. Go deep. Find out who -and how wonderful -you are, and share your details with the rest of us. The world is waiting….