Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zen and Tile Removal

A journey of a thousand miles
Starts with a single step.

As you are well aware, the Tao Te Ching encourages the reader to stay put in the present moment and not worry so much about the past or the future, particularly when working on a project that's taking much too #@$&#!# long. Otherwise, that person's mind is stuck in some far-away future place instead of in the real, present world.

I have to admit that I enjoy working with a hammer and chisel. I like the rhythmic ping, ping, ping. Our little porcelain tiles are deceptively tough, and they have the most determined grip on the slab underneath. Most of them shatter into razor sharp pieces, one of which just cut my lip. I'm wearing the safety goggles for sure.

I know I'm using the wrong chisel--they make special chisels just for this purpose. Of course, I could buy or rent a power tool to finish up quickly.

And there's the rub.

From one perspective, the tile-removal job is coming right along. But from a wider perspective I'm not close to being finished. At my current rate, I probably have another 15 or 20 hours of chiseling. If I buy a good chisel, things would go faster, and I enjoy the ping, ping, ping. A power tool would probably get it down to less than an hour, but no ping.

I don't need to consult with a Zen master about what to do--I already know the answer.

Zen masters really aren't much help anyway. They say things like:
The man who knows, cannot tell
The man who tells, doesn't know

I'm leaning toward a new chisel.

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