The art of Shodo provides blunt feedback. You prepare the ink by placing water inside the suzuri (used for grinding the ink and mixing it with water), grind it with a sumi (ink stick) and over time, create the ink. Depending upon how hard you grind it and length of time will dictate the quality and color of the ink.

You place the shitajiki (usually felt sheet that is placed under the paper to absorb the ink) under the paper. You prepare the fude (brushes) and of course during this whole time, you prepare you mind, body and spirit for the task ahead.

Once preparation is completed, you focus your mind on the very first, hair-thin bristle which touches the paper, bring along your Ki (energy) and your Spirit to the piece of art. You move along the paper moving in a specific fashion known as Meri Hari (varied movements; some light, some heavy etc.).

What happens above the paper is as equally important as what happens when the brush is touching. This is the key – the “invisible” energetic connection between gaps in the ink. Without such connections, the piece becomes stale and static. With the connection, even though it is a two-dimensional piece, it springs to life as if in continual movement.

Finally do not release your Ki, concentration or Spirit until the very last bristle is lifted from the paper.

Once done, you have to live with the end results.

Some pieces, you may be thrilled with. They reflect your inner vision mixed with the outer flow. Other pieces are clumsy, a reflection of indecision, stagnation or lack of concentration. There is no hiding from the end results once completed. Just time for reflection and mental notes about adjustments needed.

After such moments of silence and reflection, a new sheet is pulled and the process begins anew.

Isn’t this so much a microcosm of life? We prepare, concentration, take action and then live with the end results. If we like them, we do our best to replicate. If not, we do our best to adjust. Then start a brand new sheet, a brand new day. The sheet is blank and we the artists, hold the brush to create the endless possibilities.

Author's Bio: 

David Orman is a Wellness Entrepreneur, Expert and Educator. He can be reached at or