You begin life by performing an unconscious miracle: being born.  Next, you study the masters that the teachers set before you.  After that, you study the ones of your own choosing.  Then, most importantly – if you’re lucky enough to still have a beating heart – you live.  You live, digest life, use your hands and brains and guts to make something of your own.

You develop the patience to peel garlic.  You learn when to make a routine, when to break a routine.  When to take stock, when to make stock.  When to stop chattering and feel how huge silence is.  When to multiply, when to divide.

Eventually you might try a cup of decaf or a study group, once you’ve blown off enough steam, once you’ve fulfilled your requirements, once you’ve taken care of your responsibilities.  You might try gardening or calligraphy, fishing or painting or poetry.  You might become interested in sanitation or telescopes or diseases.  You might give away everything you own, walk to the side of the road and put your thumb out.  You might stare at the wall, seeking nothing, finding nothing, needing nothing.

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