The great Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai lived in the late 18th century to mid-19th century. He was well ahead of his time.
Hokusai Says by Roger Keyes …
Hokusai says look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious
He says there is no end to seeing
He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it is interesting
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,
every one of us is ancient
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find
a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive–
shells, buildings, people, fish,
mountains, trees, wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn’t matter if you draw,or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your veranda
or the shadows of the trees and grasses in your garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.
Love, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.
The great Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai lived in the late 18th century to mid-19th century. He was well ahead of his time. Maybe you don’t recognize his name, but I’m sure you have seen his woodprint block The Great Wave off Kanagawa, which is shown below. He continued painting until his dying days. He had quite an interesting personality, as you can see from all his quotes. Imagine that on his deathbed at age 89, he exclaimed, “If only Heaven could give me just another ten years, just another five more years, then I could become a real painter.”
He was eager to constantly improve his work and always looked ahead, even during difficult times. At age 79, a fire in his studio destroyed much of his work, yet he still continued to paint and completed Ducks in a Stream at the age of 87. Below is what he wrote in a postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji:
Nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At 73, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and the way the plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am 86, so that by 90, I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At 100, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at 130, 140, or more, I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive….
Like Hokusai, I think that we should hunger for life in every aspect and be eager to learn as much as we can. We should get excited about not just external discoveries but also internal ones and be filled with the resolve to improve ourselves as best we can.
Let’s look around carefully, not while planning our routine tasks and worrying about the day’s chores but by really watching and noticing every single detail. Then and only then is there no end to the things we will see and discover.
Let’s be curious about life. Remember how curious you were when you were a child. We should not give up on this just because we age. We should continue being curious about the outside world, but we should also be curious about ourselves. Let’s get excited about unveiling and discovering our real selves, the people under all these layers we have built over time.
Let’s not be scared of changing. What purpose would our lives have served if we left this world without ever changing?
Let’s keep doing what we love. Maybe you chose a profession that does not really suit you. Maybe family responsibilities mean you need to keep working a job that you don’t really like. That’s fine, but at least try to do something you love in your spare time. Free up some space to do the things you love.
Let’s learn to live alongside fear rather than in fear. We might feel the fear, but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to it. It should not limit our lives. Often we are so scared of failure that we don’t even try. If you love traveling but are afraid of flying, don’t limit yourself to only places you can reach by car or train. By accepting the fear rather than trying to avoid or fight it, and by learning to live with it, we can open a new door on life.
In summary, let’s live fully.
Let’s live with awareness and enthusiasm, loving, feeling, noticing, and enjoying every moment.
Let’s not let life pass us by because we’re too busy planning for the future or weeping for the past. Let’s let life live through us.