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Thread: Creativity

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Creativity

    Since I have been sitting Shikantaza, I noticed I am more open to creativity. I work as a graphic designer which involves developing creative solutions every day. Doubt, fear and self-judgement are all creative killers, and I feel I can let go of those afflictions easier. This allows ideas to flow more freely and to be aligned with my creative abilities. Also, the finished design is simpler but in a good way. Simple meaning it's an effective, creative solution that meets the project objective without the unnecessary elements. I truly believe Shikantaza helps to be in touch with my creative side even though that's not the reason why I practice Shikantaza.

    Has anyone else experienced more openness to their creativity whether it's art, writing, music, etc.? Please share if you have.

    Thanks
    Jodi

  2. #2
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h
    Since I have been sitting Shikantaza, I noticed I am more open to creativity. I work as a graphic designer which involves developing creative solutions every day. Doubt, fear and self-judgement are all creative killers, and I feel I can let go of those afflictions easier. This allows ideas to flow more freely and to be aligned with my creative abilities. Also, the finished design is simpler but in a good way. Simple meaning it's an effective, creative solution that meets the project objective without the unnecessary elements. I truly believe Shikantaza helps to be in touch with my creative side even though that's not the reason why I practice Shikantaza.

    Has anyone else experienced more openness to their creativity whether it's art, writing, music, etc.? Please share if you have.
    That's tough to judge. I'm a freelance writer, and there are days when I can write a 1000-word article in an hour, with few corrections or revisions to make afterwards. I don't know if this is from experience, or if my mind is more flexible than in the past.

    Personally, in my work, doubt and self-judgement are good to have. I find the need to question myself, whether what I'm writing is useful, valid, or well composed, in order to do better. Perhaps with visual creativity it's different...?

  3. #3

    Re: Creativity

    I couldn't tease apart the Dharma from painting. Painting is practice. Once skills have been internalized through repeated effort they become second nature, or rather first nature. The practice of painting is just painting with no painter. It is not always like that. There are self-conscious times, and the work shows that self consciousness in its laboured gesture. But generally once things warm up, the art determines its own unfolding. Working with a canvas has an effort profile. Initially there is feeling out the basic image onto the surface, but once there is some information on the canvas, it begins to suggest its own unfolding. This suggesting grows until in the final stretch where the painting really does paint itself. That latter stage is very joyful.

    The biggest killer is doubt, second guessing. No doubt. No second guessing. Just a spontaneous gesture that has an effortless perfection, like the way a tree grows. But I do think that confidence in skill, born of effort and commitment, is the ground.

  4. #4

    Creativity

    Beautiful words. Makes me want to paint!

  5. #5

    Re: Creativity

    Well, I guess we all have one thing we can talk about without hesitation. :lol:

    Been slowly going through the talks posted on this site by Jundo and Taigu, and those words inspire to practice. Should join in the group sittings when I figure out the techy part. Slow learning curve that way. Gassho.

  6. #6

    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Initially there is feeling out the basic image onto the surface, but once there is some information on the canvas, it begins to suggest its own unfolding. This suggesting grows until in the final stretch where the painting really does paint itself. That latter stage is very joyful.

    The biggest killer is doubt, second guessing. No doubt. No second guessing. Just a spontaneous gesture that has an effortless perfection, like the way a tree grows. But I do think that confidence in skill, born of effort and commitment, is the ground.
    Beautiful description. This has been my experience as well, and it's what initially drew me most strongly to meditation. The change in how "I" created was dramatic, suddenly it was like the works were painting themselves, or more like a dance where there was a unity of artist/creating/art, with no division.

    Truly joyful.

    A Harder challenge has been to bring that creative mindset to everything in life.

  7. #7

    Creativity

    The same thing with martial arts. In Judo for example, first comes intentionally throwing by breaking balance and applying full force, then you get more skillful, more focused, more prepared, Mind like Water. Throws come naturally flowing. Finally there are moments when you are being balance, being motion, being effortless throwing, everything throwing and being thrown, pure action without intent. Moving Zen.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    ...In Judo for example, first comes intentionally throwing by breaking balance and applying full force, then you get more skillful, more focused, more prepared, Mind like Water...
    This is why I would like to find a skillful martial arts teacher sometime soon...

  9. #9

    Creativity

    If I were looking for moving Zen in martial arts, I would try Aikido first. Many Judo and Karate teachers, especially in the west, view these arts as sports only, which is a pity. Not that you can't find Zen in doing martial arts as a sport, but I think the transition from Zazen to moving Zen would be more natural in Aikido.

  10. #10

    Re: Creativity

    I've never studied martial arts, but have long appreciated the sayings of Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. I also found the book "Zen and the Art of Archery" to be helpful. Many people need to work with a teacher to "get" Zen as activity but in the end practice is most important, imo, and that is something we can do anytime, on our own. Learning to focus closely on what you're doing. After basic skills have been developed thoughts start to drop away naturally, i think, as all the senses are actively engaged with the art or activity - be it cooking, martial arts, drawing, playing piano, making love, etc...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    This is why I would like to find a skillful martial arts teacher sometime soon...
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If I were looking for moving Zen in martial arts, I would try Aikido first. Many Judo and Karate teachers, especially in the west, view these arts as sports only, which is a pity. Not that you can't find Zen in doing martial arts as a sport, but I think the transition from Zazen to moving Zen would be more natural in Aikido.
    I have been in martial arts for about 12 years. Kyuki-Do is the main focus of my martial arts training with the fortune of having great teachers. The teaching is an essential component to the student's development in martial arts. Martial arts is definitely more than a sport. Students realize their own potential, both physically, mentally and spiritually. Effective teachers help students learn discipline, self-control, patience, persistence and respect for themselves and others. Martial artists are expected to keep challenging themselves, both in the do jang, and in every other area of their life.

    Kyuki-Do is a Korean martial art that primarily incorporates elements of Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido and Judo /Juijuistu, street fighting and weapons techniques. Since this art is comprised of other styles , my school offers Judo and Aikido classes. I agree that the blending martial arts styles are like moving Zen. However, Judo and Aikido is so humbling and more difficult than just punching or kicking like in Karate or Tae Kwon Do. Using good technique and going with the flow without thinking about it or muscling the technique takes practice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    The same thing with martial arts. In Judo for example, first comes intentionally throwing by breaking balance and applying full force, then you get more skillful, more focused, more prepared, Mind like Water. Throws come naturally flowing. Finally there are moments when you are being balance, being motion, being effortless throwing, everything throwing and being thrown, pure action without intent. Moving Zen.
    I really like Judo and is so much fun but my Mind is not Like Water yet during Randori I am lucky to execute a good throw and usually get thrown A LOT by the higher ranks. But I know it will get better with practice and perseverance!

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  12. #12

    Re: Creativity

    Jodi,

    I think this book will be interesting to you. John Daido Loori was a photographer himself and his approach to Zen training has art practice as an essential part of it.
    http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Creativity-Cu ... 528&sr=8-1

  13. #13

    Creativity

    Hi Jodi!

    Anyone can punch or kick and I agree it is more humbling to utterly fail a throw than to throw a really bad punch, but I'm not sure one is more difficult than the other to master. Learning to kick or punch really well, with perfect form, perfect distance, perfect timing and perfect force is hard...

    I'm not a Judo black belt and I don't want to paint myself as a martial arts master... Only once or twice have I experienced a glimpse into being one with the throw and never in a competition or "competitive" full force randori situation. The old Samurai could probably keep their minds like water in the face of overwhelming odds, while I lose it as soon as my friend in the white pyyamas accidentally steps on my toe...

    To get into the flowing, non-thinking, moving Zen-like randori, it helps if the partner is not afraid of getting thrown. Most times in Randori what you get is a battle of the egos, where both persons want to "win". Instead of stiff arming, fighting for grips, bending over and playing defensively, I like randori a lot more when the arms are relaxed, you stand up straight, dance around on light feet and don't mind falling when thrown well. In this kind of ego-less but intense randori, it is much easier to let the Judo do itself, without thinking. And this is why I suggest Aikido before Judo. Judo is often very competitive, while there should be no competitiveness in Aikido.

    /Pontus

  14. #14

    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by "christopher

    A Harder challenge has been to bring that creative mindset to everything in life.
    Thats the thing. If the Dharma was just about non-duality in art making (or Judo), it would be a cinch. But what about when that painting gets damaged at the gallery, or when the market tanks and it doesn't sell. What is practice then? ..... What about when the shit hits the fan, which it seems to do in a continuous stream? :lol:

  15. #15

    Re: Creativity

    I am a really really bad artist. Freestyle crafting, such as in sculpture, I am a little better with. I feel more comfortable fashioning words but – interestingly - I do not have the same urge to write since becoming more active in my sitting practice. Haiku have abandoned me of late.

    However I do go passionately into mechanical design using CAD. Over the last months I have started to master 3D on a new program recently purchased whch has given me wings on which to fly. What sitting has done is to nullify the importance of deadlines – you know like the dude who burnt all his carved sutras to keep a stranger warm and then set about re-writing them.

    Cheers

    m

  16. #16

    Re: Creativity

    My inkin bell as it was:



    My inkin bell with a turned white oak handle:



    Aside from the aesthetics, the new handle tucks into my obi quite well.

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Martial Arts are ultimately about energy, and how to manage it. Physical energy is a manifestation of emotional and spiritual energy. I am reminded of the teacher who was approached by a new student seeking to be taught in martial arts:

    Student: I would like to learn self defense...
    Teacher: Which self is it that you wish to defend?

    My Sensei, a tough old Marine Gunny who kickboxed full contact/bare knuckle way before MMA became all the rage, taught us "if you want to learn self defense go buy a pistol."

    Yamaoka Tesshu, the 19th Century sword master, was asked what school or ryu he belonged to - and he responded "I belong to the school of eyes horizontal and nose vertical" - reflecting his study of Dogen! My own martial arts practice these days is mostly spent on the cushion - and I do still periodically practice sword kata with a Bokken outside - the trees keep me company.

    There is no question that martial arts practice (and other bodywork disciplines) lend all sort of physical, mental, and even spiritual benefits. There are many beneficial practices that allow us to enter the way of harmonization of body and mind - all of them worthy - aikido, judo, kyuki-do, karate, pilates, yoga, tai chi, too many to name.

    Amelia, I hope you find a good teacher! Sometimes the quality of the teacher is more important than the discipline you select!

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  18. #18
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Yugen,

    I hope I do find a good teacher. I have a particular feeling about a little Tai Kwon Do place nearby. I feel like avoiding the larger studios that teach mainly little kids and seem to be more like a daycare.

    Gassho,

    Amelia

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Amelia,
    Follow your intuition.... if you have a good feeling about it check it out. Visit some classes. In some dojos senior students teach classes or assist the Sensei in class. The quality of their practice, and attitude, will be a reflection of their teacher, and the attitude she/he establishes in the school. Look for this - it will give you important clues as to the atmosphere of the school.

    Good luck!

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Yugen,

    I hope I do find a good teacher. I have a particular feeling about a little Tai Kwon Do place nearby. I feel like avoiding the larger studios that teach mainly little kids and seem to be more like a daycare.

    Gassho,

    Amelia
    Here are the essential qualities to look for in a martial arts instructor:

    1. Knowledge: Knowledge in the area of instruction is a must. An instructor needs to be informative; however, the class is only as good as the instructor’s attitude on that given day.
    2. Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is a must. Enthusiasm is not taught, it’s caught. Good teachers are dynamic and show passion for their martial art, their school and teaching students.
    3. Patience: Patience is an instructor’s best friend. It takes time and repetition for students to learn the techniques and it varies from student to student.
    4. Love: Instructor must really care for their students.
    5. Understanding: They should view things from the student’s viewpoint.
    6. Compassion: Instructors help their students through frustrating moments.
    7. Punctuality: Punctuality is a sign of dependability and is a required for all instructors.
    8. Cleanliness: An instructor’s uniform should be clean and pressed. Personal grooming should never be neglected.

    An instructor should always be an EXAMPLE of the benefits of martial arts training, not only in the school, but also in society.

    I hope this helps.

    Gassho,
    Jodi

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Jodi,
    Well said!

    As I read this and your other posts/thoughts on the martial arts, I think your students are very fortunate to have you as a teacher.

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  22. #22
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: Creativity

    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen
    Jodi,
    Well said!

    As I read this and your other posts/thoughts on the martial arts, I think your students are very fortunate to have you as a teacher.

    Gassho,
    Yugen
    Thank you! I hope the students like me anyway. Teaching is so much fun and the kids are so cute!

    Gassho,
    Jodi

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