It happens every year at this time. I round the twisty corner on my way into Evergreen, and it is there. The vast, sweeping meadows with frosted, silvery grasses, lit by clean, early-morning sunlight. Their sparkling beauty takes my breath away. I slow down to take it all in. My mind empties of its incessant chatter, its need to sort through all the things I am supposed to Do during the day. For a moment, I see with my whole body and mind. I begin to paint it in my mind.
In his book The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life, John Daido Loori talks about the valuable zen principle of seeing with the whole body and mind—rather than thinking about things, trying to understand them—as a way of cultivating and enriching our creative experience. Whole body and mind seeing involves “the total merging of subject and object, of seer and seen, of self and other.” That is what happens when I see the frost-gilded meadow in the morning sunshine. I forget that I am who I am, that I am seeing, that I am hearing. I am captivated and enthralled and awakened and made alive in that moment of merging.
It is as T. S. Eliot says, “…Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music.”
Years ago, when we first moved here, I painted that music of the frosted meadows. The painting became its own voice and looked entirely different than what I had intended it too, but in the act of painting, I lost myself, but became the music the singing of the grasses, the birds that reveled in the aliveness of that place.
So how do we achieve this elusive state, where we just learn to be and become that moment that touches and awakens our artistic sensibilities? John Daido Loori give us this practice:
“See for yourself if it is possible for you to take up an ordinary teacup and just experience its physical existence, without naming, analyzing, judging, or evaluating it. Just feel it. See it. Touch it. Experience it without the mind moving. When you find your mind moving, acknowledge the thought, let it go, and come back to the cup in the same way that in zazen, when a thought arises, you acknowledge it, let it go, and come back to the breath.” (The Zen of Creativity, p. 74).
The more we practice coming to the still point within, seeing with the whole body and mind, the more we awaken to our creativity.
To learn more tools for empowering your creativity, contact Cyncie Winter at ArtCoachingforYou.com