Where Science Meets Muse

The Zen of Creativity – Book Summary

Posted by Plish on February 3, 2009


There is a book out entitled: The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life .

This blog entry has a summary of the book that is well worth reading. Regardless of your religious/spiritual/philosophical groundings there is some good information to glean here.  The first one I found particularly powerful so I’ll share it with you as well:

1. The role of the ‘still point’ in the creative process
The still point is at the heart of the creative process.
In Zen we access it through zazen meditation.
To be still is to create a state of consciousness that is open and receptive. It is very natural and uncomplicated. It’s not ‘esoteric’ in any way. Yet it’s incredibly profound.
The first step to access the still point is through single-pointedness of mind which builds our concentration (in Japanese Zen called ‘joriki’, the power of concentration). Joriki taps into our physical, mental and emotional reserves and opens our spiritual capacities. One way that our spiritual power begins to manifest is through the emergence of the intuitive aspect of our consciousness. (Electromagnetic waves in the hemispheres of the brain show nowadays the different patterns in different activities)
Single-pointed concentration develops our intuition. We become more directly aware of the world. It’s a fruition that comes after discipline and repetitive practice just like any other learning process. It’s a way of being. All our senses become open, alert, free of tension and receptive.
If this state can be cultivated in your being and in your life, then it will be present in your art!

Exercise: zazen
Try ‘just sitting’ and concentrating on your inward and outward breath for 15’ every day and also for 15’ before creating art.

In order for the creative juices to start flowing, we need to be able to relax our minds and bodies.  But, in order to go back to that relaxing peaceful place, we need to know what it’s like in the first place.   By practicing meditation or prayer, we teach our bodies and minds to focus and relax, almost ‘on demand’ as it were.  When we’re relaxed our subconscious can do a better job of solving problems and percolating these ideas to the surface (that’s why showers are such great places for idea generation and problem solving-there is a single-minded enjoyment of the water and seldom are we consciously running problems through our minds.)

Give meditation/prayer a try.  You might not only get more creative but you may start reaping other benefits as well!

What do you do to stimulate creativity?

What do you think of these Zen guidelines?


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