Work on Yourself Through Calligraphy

We see calligraphy as a form of art. But are there benefits that we can attain from practicing calligraphy? Rie Takeda explains how calligraphy is not only doing art, but it is also working on one's self.

Nick: Kind of similar to the statement, "the ink never lies", you also state that when you are doing calligraphy, you are not only doing art, you're working on yourself, too. I think our audience will understand that from what we've talked about, but would you like to touch on that, maybe, for you, personally?

Rie: Well, it's constantly because it reflects what you're doing and what you're feeling, and you can see that on paper. So the brush captures our present moment and makes it visible with ink on paper, that's a fact.

So you can check your own state of mind, if there is a tension or tendencies of your own body and mind, just like a mirror. So sometimes you discover certain body tendencies you never noticed before, or really like a particular hidden emotion, which you forgot all about, it comes out sometimes during this shodo session. 

We could reflect those elements and walk around them, and that's what I found as a very positive process. Sometimes when the said element comes, it's not always easy, but it's like our life: we go around and walk around them, right? 

So afterwards when the shaky strokes have become much lighter and softer, that also reflects your tension, emotional tension, or body tension, it's much lighter and has more freedom to move.

That's how I see it, when I see the final calligraphy of students or even for myself, you can see the process basically. I really like many people to experience that once, just the visible process of how one gets calmer and lighter.