Reading Deep Work by Cal Newport. A thought that he dwells on while explaining the satisfaction one can derive out of highly focused craftsmanship struck me. This satisfaction need not necessarily come from extracting artistry from crude metals or wood carving or painting or writing or anything that we instantly attach artistry to. It can be something as ‘mechanical’ as computer programming, too. It can be both physical and cognitive, provided it calls for high levels of skills.
It’s been argued that the task of a craftsman is not to generate meaning, but rather to cultivate in himself (or herself, of course!) the skill of discerning the meanings that are already there. Such an interpretation of craftsmanship, a beautiful one at that, as a path to meaning provides a nuanced understanding of why the work of some artists, musicians, singers, writers, cooks, gardeners, etc., suddenly strikes a chord for those who care to discern. Once they do that, meaning emerges on its own. That’s *The Glimpse of the Sacred*.
That is, when you give it your all to anything that you are passionate about, the result lets you connect with something that is so absolutely sacred that its elusiveness and value is hard to explain in modernity, adds Newport.
When I read these pages, the first thing I asked myself was this: “What are those so-called mundane activities that let me connect with sacredness?” What is it that helps me connect with the divine as a mere mortal who is here for some unknown reason to experience something so unique with every sunrise and sundown?
The first thing my mind did was to travel beyond the living room and hop on to the balcony where my composter is sitting pretty. When I opened the lid, there it was… that entire realm of darkness in which lies the power to nourish this planet. I have done it many times over the years. But each time I open the lid to check if it is done, if it is emanating that earthy aroma, the experience feels all so new and unique all over again.
Now that’s The Glimpse of the Sacred I was talking about. Does it strike a chord with you?
Pic 1 by Varsha Samuel Rajkumar
Pic 2 by SH.