All of us appreciate a good piece of art — be it music, painting, calligraphy, origami, or a something else handcrafted.
At some point in time, you were so moved by the beauty of something that you decided to learn it.
But then after a few days of effort and almost no progress — you decided that maybe it was not worth the efforts.
You were not going to be a professional — then why spend your free time struggling to reach a level that is far from being even humble, instead of relaxing.
Especially in the current world — with the internet — with all the great arts just one click away.
It would have made a lot more sense to learn to play an instrument if you were living in woods — cut off from the rest of the world.
Then you would need to learn to play if you wanted to enjoy the music — and if you had people around you — they would have truly appreciated your efforts.
There are two reasons:
1. The meditative effect of practicing:
While trying to play a note properly, or trying to draw the line correct, or making sure that you put colors the right way — it is next to impossible to think about anything else.
Isn’t this what mindfulness all about?
Even if your results are not great (as you shouldn’t expect — being an amateur) — the process itself is rewarding for putting your mind in a calm state.
As Ruskin Bond mentions in his ‘A Book of Simple Living’:
“In truth, I have yet to meet a neurotic carpenter or stonemason or clay-worker or bangle-maker or master craftsman of any kind. Those who work with wood or stone or glass- those who fashion beautiful things with their hands — are usually well-balanced people. Working with the hands is in itself a therapy”
Hence the first benefit is free therapy.
2. The contentment:
Even if your work is not going to be appreciated by the world — it will be close to your heart.
You would know how challenging it was to produce and when you finish it — it would fill you with a feeling of content, pride, and achievement.
It would be something that didn’t exist — and you bought it into existence.
You can keep it with you (record and upload on a cloud) and it will remind you of the state of mind you were while creating it.
In a life full of hustle and trying to do our best — it is worth finding a few minutes to do something that makes you realize that journey is more important than the destination — that the process is more rewarding than the result.
The best part is — you don’t need to travel half the world or spend years in mountains with monks to learn this.
Let the next episode of the TV show wait for a while — grab a pen and paper, or dust off the old guitar (or violin or flute or whatever you wanted to learn) — and try to do something slightly beyond what you comfortably can.
“Love your art, poor as it may be, which you have learned, and be content with it; and pass through the rest of life like one who has entrusted to the gods with his whole soul and all that he has, making yourself neither the tyrant nor the slave of any man.” — Marcus Aurelius