The other night I caught the tail-end of a radio interview with Graham Short – a man who has become famous for perfecting the seeming impossible: engraving lots of words on tiny weeny things. So, for one example, the entire Lord’s Prayer on the head of a pin. He spoke of the lengths he finds he has to go to in order to succeed at his work: he straps his engraving arm to the workbench, leaving his engraving hand free but stable. He works after midnight so heavy traffic won’t vibrate the building, and he injects botox around his 60 year old (something) eyes to minimise the drooping of his eyelids. He also exercises ritually – by long daily swims – to keep his resting heartbeat as low as possible (alongside beta blockers, potassium and magnesium supplements). With a stethoscope around his neck, he can then ensure his engraving happens in between each slow beat as he has found that his pulse affects the steadiness of his hand.

My mind boggles at the level of commitment and intensity of this extraordinary work. The creation of each letter, each word, must involve a level of mindfulness that any of us keen on this meditation practice may aspire to. To channel all your focus and concentration into the immediate in this way means there is no room in the mind for anything else. No past, no future, just the task at hand. And for Graham, he maintains this effort for a sustained amount of time. Some could describe this as ‘being in the flow’. Mindfulness, however it is achieved – through miniature prayers or concentration on our breath – gives us a break from the potential tangles our minds can make.

If you want to see Graham in action, you can if you dig around his website here.