Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Now and Zen

Art Journal page, May 2014
Another wonderful book that I just finished rereading is The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori.  Loori was a photographer who became a Zen priest and founded a Zen art center in upstate New York.  Excellent book, beautiful and very resonant for me.  Here's a blurb from Amazon ~

"For many of us, the return of Zen conjures up images of rock gardens and gently flowing waterfalls. We think of mindfulness and meditation, immersion in a state of being where meaning is found through simplicity. Zen lore has been absorbed by Western practitioners and pop culture alike, yet there is a specific area of this ancient tradition that hasn’t been fully explored in the West. Now, in The Zen of Creativity, American Zen master John Daido Loori presents a book that taps the principles of the Zen arts and aesthetic as a means to unlock creativity and find freedom in the various dimensions of our existence. Loori dissolves the barriers between art and spirituality, opening up the possibility of meeting life with spontaneity, grace, and peace.

Zen Buddhism is steeped in the arts. In spiritual ways, calligraphy, poetry, painting, the tea ceremony, and flower arranging can point us toward our essential, boundless nature. Brilliantly interpreting the teachings of the artless arts, Loori illuminates various elements that awaken our creativity, among them still point, the center of each moment that focuses on the tranquility within; simplicity, in which the creative process is uncluttered and unlimited, like a cloudless sky; spontaneity, a way to navigate through life without preconceptions, with a freshness in which everything becomes new; mystery, a sense of trust in the unknown; creative feedback, the systematic use of an audience to receive noncritical input about our art; art koans, exercises based on paradoxical questions that can be resolved only through artistic expression. Loori shows how these elements interpenetrate and function not only in art, but in all our endeavors.

Beautifully illustrated and punctuated with poems and reflections from Loori’s own spiritual journey, The Zen of Creativity presents a multilayered, bottomless source of insight into our creativity. Appealing equally to spiritual seekers, artists, and veteran Buddhist practitioners, this book is perfect for those wishing to discover new means of self-awareness and expression—and to restore equanimity and freedom amid the vicissitudes of our lives."

I'm still going through things.  As little as I own relative to everyone else because I live in such a small space, I still have way more than I need.  As with old books, my earlier enthusiasms, like vintage linens, got me collecting far more than I could ever use during that phase of artmaking.  With the linens, I was dyeing up a storm several years ago, but then I gravitated away into mixed media.  Leaving me with two stacks of linens, half of which, I realized yesterday as I sorted through them, I no longer want.  And so it's been with other items.  I will be posting some of the small table linens at Etsy today ~ the rest are going to Tailwagger's Thrift Shop in Eureka.


Charlton Stitcher said...

There's a fantastic depth to this journal page with those circles superimposed on the image.
... and another book reference to follow up. Following your post earlier this week, I downloaded Free Play to my Kindle and am now getting deep in ... very interesting and lots to think about!

Bonnie said...

Your post really spoke to me today! Thanks!

Irene said...

I am not going to pretend that I completely read and understood your quoted text (my poor eyes could not handle it), but I did get the general idea. I think I peel potatoes the Zen way when I am in the right state of mind. I must remember to be so more often because my life goes well then.

Leslie said...

Love the collage. Only 3 elements but so engrossing.I must practice the art of 'less' more often.

However, the book excerpt made my head spin. I'm sure I'd benefit from the zen way of thinking but I'm too twitchy to even sit down and stick with the book. Glad you're finding it helpful tho.

Emma said...

Lovely images in your last few posts, I'm enjoying catching up. I get my little bit of Zen from Yoga, wonderful in this fast cluttered world of ours.Still working on the creative mess in the studio ;)

Maggi said...

Lovely journal page and the book sounds so interesting. I tried to order it from my library but it is not available to will have to consider purchasing it.