Thoai Tran wrote 14 installments of Zen and Skateboarding. Here is Part 2. See introductory comments I wrote on this post for full context.
Part Two: Revelation
I searched long and hard for the elusive master, the only one who can enlighten me about skating. I had watched countless hours of video footage and absorbed countless photographs of skaters and skating, but I needed to find meaning in the one thing that I had dedicated my life to. Yes, skating is fun...it is indeed exciting. It is a test of adrenaline whenever one pushes to the furthest limits. But there is something else as well: a sublime and profoundly beautiful element that goes deep into the soul. I searched long and hard for someone who can explain to me this beauty, so I can finally be in complete harmony with myself and with my art...But my searches all ended in failure...and here I sit, contemplating where I will go next, whom I can talk to...A voice is suddenly heard: "You seek for the master who can tell you what is beautiful, what is sublime about you art? Imagine a beautiful painting that is on display in a museum. A passing viewer of a painting finds it beautiful by appreciating the overall images and their metaphorical representations. Another individual notes the techniques and appreciates the smoothness of the strokes, the detailed lines, the blending of various colors to give the perfect shades and contrasts. It has been said that a characteristic of a masterpiece is that it has so many elements to appreciate. Some elements may be manifested immediately after a quick glance; while others may be revealed only after a closer and more scrupulous look. But realize that, you who seek meaning and beauty in your art...realize that the collective elements that you find beautiful may not be shared completely by another individual - hence beauty is a subjective phenomenon relative to each individual..."
Your skating is an art. Like a beautiful painting that hangs in an art gallery, skating has so many elements to be appreciated...old school, new school, vert, street, freestyle, downhill, and so on. Each individual may find all, some, or just one of the elements beautiful. But remember, you who seek meaning in your art, remember that you should never look down on something that you may not love or appreciate, because that something is part of the collective beauty that is appreciated by someone else. Furthermore, remember, you who seek beauty in your art, remember that no one can ever explain to you what constitutes beauty in your art. No masters, no philosophers, not even the professionals who has been idolized for many years...You seek for the master who can enlighten you about your skating? You seek for the master who can explain to you what is beautiful about your skating? Seek within yourself..."
So spoke the master within myself...