Active Meditation

Stream of Consciousness

Here is a wonderful response to one of our Rowden blogs from Peter Sharman that I would like to share with you. Over to you, Peter…

“The process that you outline in your latest ‘Stream of Consciousness’ is something that many of us appreciate although even beginning to understand the mechanism of it is another thing entirely.
Students used to comment that I made things look so easy but of course they have only become easy by a focusing process that has been developed over many hours, or even years in my case, until second nature steps in. Even so one is occasionally surprised by how the mere fact of intending to do something has miraculously resulted in the desired result.
In a slightly different but mystical vein, how many times has one walked away from the workshop when the current project is at some sort of crossroads where several options are available? Choosing the right one is always complicated by the fact that whatever decision is made will, by its very nature, be a final and irrevocable act.
It seems to me that walking away is exactly the right thing to do under these circumstances because so often the mere act of subsequently picking up the pencil means that eventually the sketched answer appears on the paper almost like magic automatic writing. The process seems to need the elapse of time for it to work and often the proverbial ‘sleeping on it’ is an integral element. My normal reaction to these solutions is invariably one of ‘that is so obvious, why the heck did I not think of it earlier and where did it come from?’.
Another slightly mystical workshop experience that I experience is when I pick up a tool and am immediately transported to a memory of the person who gave it or bequeathed it to me. These ‘ghosts’ include my father, grandfather brother and a host of old friends and colleagues. Many of these tools are stamped with the original owner’s name but unfortunately any knowledge of many are lost in the mists of time. I still have one or two of the tools left from my first full size carpenters tool kit that my grandfather gave on me on my ninth birthday over 65 years ago!
I have a wardrobe full of antique wooden moulding planes amongst my stuff that I used to encourage my cabinet making students to use if they needed to reproduce a particular moulding. Many of these (the planes that is and not the students) are 18th century and proudly display the name stamps of previous owners with up to 7 stamps on a single plane not being uncommon. I guess that 7 stamps would easily equate to 7 generations of users at 25 years each which can be a sobering thought to put my own modest efforts into perspective.”
Thanks Peter. Plenty to think about, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Until next time,


David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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