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Maille and My Personal Spiritual Development
Article © MAIL User: sakredchao

When I first started mailling, it was just something that I did. As I made more of it, it became a larger part of my life. And as everything in your experience molds who you are, it did just that.

Karma Yoga
Karma is often regarded as 'do something, and that same thing will come back to in one form or another'. Karma, in a more traditional sense, means action. I discovered the meaning of Karma Yoga after beginning my maille career. I had been exposed to the concept, but did not fully understand it until I started mailling.

When most people think of yoga, they think of hatha yoga, or stretching the muscles. That is one of the aspects of yoga. Another is karma. Karma yoga is a mindset, or attitude more than anything else..and can be extrapolated into any task. The idea is this: do every task with a whole mind devoted to that task, with no attachment to the result. Applied to chainmaille this means, look at every ring closure carefully when you close it, as if it were the only closure.. Normally this would also imply no television, cooking, driving, reading, or any other distracting activity while you are weaving, however some people can tune those things out while in the karma yoga meditation. Please do not attempt to tune out driving.

To weave in karma yoga, don't think about the finished hauberk, how cool it will be and how your friends will oooh, and ahhh over it. Those thoughts also breed the thoughts of 'I just want it done'... not 'I want it done to the highest capacity of my skill'.

During my karma yoga meditations I learned things about chainmaille which make it faster and easier for me. For example: more movements = more time to complete a project. The result of this was, when I close or open rings, I keep a pile of rings in my hand between my fingers and pliers, so I move the pliers 3 inches rather than a foot and a half. I stopped setting down my pliers. How putting pressure on one way helps to get quality cuts on rings, while the other way produces poor cuts.. Winding the spring one way will allow my snips to make good cuts, and the other direction produces poor cuts.

After realizing that attention to the task at hand makes it ultimately easier, I began to try to apply the concept to as many aspects of my life as I could. And I developed new methods of doing things that I had been at for years.

A Peaceful Space
It is not uncommon for the rigors of modern life to begin to weigh on my soul. Usually this happens when I forget to take time out for myself to make chainmaille, play with chainmaille, look at chainmaille, think about chainmaille, or commune in one way or another with the craft. When I finally do take the time, I find myself in the right headspace again. I love everything just a little bit more. I remember patience. I remember diligence.

Chainmaillers are Better People
Well, maybe not. But I think that there is something unique in our industry. We share our knowledge. We seek to educate more people about the craft. We learn something new and approach the group with excitement. Dweezle and I were discussing this one night, and he said to me, 'maybe it's because we spend hours and hours opening and closing little rings. It gives us time to think.' And I feel that is pretty close to the truth.
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