Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Preparation

  1. #1

    Preparation

    Preparation

    As I look about,
    Neither flowers nor autumn-tinted leaves
    Near the grass-thatched hut
    That stands alone by the shore,
    The autumn dusk.

    From Tea Life, Tea Mind, Soshitsu Sen XV
    According to the author, this poem expresses the tranquility of mind achieved with tea ceremony.

    John Daido Loori (Zen and Creativity) lists four steps needed to enter creativity. The first is inspiration. And the second he calls hara. The Japanese medical definition for hara is soft belly. Hara in the creative process is finding a quiet, tranquil place within us to cultivate our creativity. In his words: “hara, a place within us that is still and grounded.”

    After inspiration we might or might not take it to the next step, active creativity. Making art, composing music, poetry, writing, designing a garden, a meal really anything that comes from that creative center. How is it that the inspiration can settle in and move us to express ourselves? Do you have a special practice?

    Loori believes zazen is the perfect vehicle to access that creative center and move into action.

    I must admit I do not have a special meditation practice prior to making art. For me the creative act is an insight, which can happen in a flash and usually when I least expect it. Because I make ‘things’, from this insight I might have a vague idea of how to proceed, but the rest is process…busy work, measuring, planning, actually constructing the object. But to make whatever it is I’m working on I do need to be tranquil and grounded. My mind cannot be on disruptive thoughts, worries, even excitement. A fragile state I find. And I need sustained time to work. Its hard for me to work for a few days and then leave the project for a few more. There is a momentum that needs to happen.

    For many of you the creative act takes place in time, as a painter, drawer, photographer, musician, dancer, writer etc. it seems that these occupations would especially need that silence leading to focus. We'd be interested in how you achieve the sharp focus necessary for 'art making'.

    Please share your thoughts or whatever else you’d enjoy sharing.




    Gassho

    Anne

    ~st~

  2. #2
    This is a very juicy topic and brings to mind something I often think about - where does creativity spring from, where does it reside, do we tap into it, or is it like Buddha nature, inside and waiting for the clouds to clear? How would it be if we thought of it as Buddha nature itself?
    This centre is what Daido Loori called The Still Point, I think, is that right Anne? I'm aware of it but can't say if and how I arrive at it, or what it depends on. An initial thought is that I can be in it, or be it, even if there is some kind of mental maelstrom going on elsewhere within me. It's as if a planted seed suddenly puts out a shoot and everything else, maelstrom included, dissolves.
    I need to look at this a bit more and check in with my experience. I'll be back!
    Thank you for another thought provoking topic.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  3. #3
    My personal feeling is that creativity IS. The universe is creativity, all of it, is in constant flux, creating, destroying, creating again. An of course that includes every one of us. Creativity is always available, although unfortunately I'm not. And Meitou, yes maybe it can be described in Buddhist terms as Buddha nature. Touching that part of myself is like being in a state of 'grace', I've always felt. It's getting there that's sometimes a problem. I guess that's what this post is about, how does one open to what is there? how can practice aid our creative acts?

    I have not read Loori's Finding the Still Point, but I agree Meitou that the still point holds all. This reminds me of a book that was popular in the 70's with potters (those were my potter years) called Centering. This book equated centering the clay with centering ones focus, life... " When we act out of an inner unity, when all of our selves is present in what we do then we can be said to be on center".

    I love the image of the germinated seed dissolving the chaos.

    Thank you for your post. lots to think about there..


    Gassho

    Anne
    ~st~

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    I guess that's what this post is about, how does one open to what is there? how can practice aid our creative acts?
    This is an interesting topic, because I really don’t use my practice to get my creativity going, except in the sense of getting myself to “just work” a la “just sit”! The actual execution of something exacting and a bit difficult—drilling a tiny hole in precisely the right place, or soldering two very small pieces of metal together—is where I usually bring focus and attention and presence. (Sometimes I actually bow to my torch. ) But actually coming up with ideas, to me, feels like the opposite of zen practice because my mind has to go wandering everywhere and be open to thoughts that may seem, at first, intrusive or nagging—as opposed to just letting them go. I might put on experimental music or jazz. I might switch from one project to another to another. But maybe all that is really its own focus, in a way, because it’s so easy to fall into it and forget about everything else. It’s such a big, all-encompassing joy.

    Gassho

    Jen

    ST

  5. #5
    Interesting topic.

    Preparation? I've thought about this for a couple of days now to see if there is anything special I do to prepare to make music.

    The answer is … not much.

    I don't have any special meditative practice ahead of creating music. No ritual at all actually, except for the necessary plugging in and turning on equipment.

    Creating music can be quite cathartic, so being in a special mood doesn't matter. Some of the better music I've created have been in times of stress. At the same time, I've created great music in times where my life/day is more peaceful or tranquil.

    For me, I approach creating music in the spirit of spontaneous play. I often don't know what I'll do until I sit down. I'll play around with some figures or chords or short note sequences and then see where that leads. I have a guitar looper which allows me to create loops of music on the fly. I can play something, create a loop and then improvise over top. I can create a number of stacked loops of various lengths and see what happens. I don't impose any rules on myself. Sometimes I sit down and play a traditional rock/blues type riff. Other times there is just a couple of notes to start from. As an outcome of this approach, some things work and some things are crap. Sometimes I sit down and am inspired to play for hours. Other times I sit down and give up after 5 minutes because nothing is happening.

    Sometimes I'll have something stuck in my head and try to replicate it. I find usually when I have some preconceived idea of what I want to do those are usually the worst sessions. For me it is better to just let the ideas flow.

    When I play in my group (duo actually) we approach music pretty much the same way. We just start playing and seeing what comes of it. The two of us have been playing together for over 20 years so there is a certain familiarity we've built up which means we rarely talk about music ahead of time.

    In order to not stagnate I do take lessons. That keeps me moving forward and trying out new things rather than continuing to play the same old, same old.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  6. #6
    Hi all,

    for me, there has to be a "still point", too. That is a kind of mental thing, not bodily. I usually arrive there by motion :-).

    In the right setting, I have to start playing with physical things.
    In garden design, there is only a rough idea and a phase of searching and selecting materials, considering the right surroundings for the individual plants, the seasons, the development over the next decades.
    When at the place of action - some hours or days of shovelling stuff, cutting plants, preparing the place, playing with what I find - calms my mind. With bigger projects, this involves try and error even with big machines, workers and moving tons of material... some planning is needed... but it happened not a single time, that I did not alter that later ;-).
    Not actively pressing and thinking about the details, but somehow feeling how form and function fits into the overall scenery, how shaping the earth, walking through it, alters cognition.
    Being open to what is perceived. New ideas pop up that way, too.
    When involving architects, that you need over here, for getting detailed plans for official build-permissions,
    it's always very difficult. They often ignore development over time, the surroundings (what japanese gardeners call the 'borrowed landscape'), creativity while building and much more. Imho, what makes a garden a work of art is more than 50% the gardener, not the designer. (I am trying to be both, but of course need help here and there).

    I have no meditation practice, that is directly related to the above, but indirectly, I feel Zazen being a 'training' for what is needed for my creative process.
    Being open to what happens.
    There is no right, no wrong. No good, no bad. A place beyond judgement.
    Acceptance of what is possible and what not.
    Staying concentrated on what I do, not hunting other thoughts and not pushing too much, either.
    Feeling a safe place to experiment.

    I got reminded on Zazen here and there, while watching the old 'Creativity in Management' talk from John Cleese.


    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    Hi all,

    for me, there has to be a "still point", too. That is a kind of mental thing, not bodily. I usually arrive there by motion :-).

    In the right setting, I have to start playing with physical things.
    In garden design, there is only a rough idea and a phase of searching and selecting materials, considering the right surroundings for the individual plants, the seasons, the development over the next decades.
    When at the place of action - some hours or days of shovelling stuff, cutting plants, preparing the place, playing with what I find - calms my mind. With bigger projects, this involves try and error even with big machines, workers and moving tons of material... some planning is needed... but it happened not a single time, that I did not alter that later ;-).
    Not actively pressing and thinking about the details, but somehow feeling how form and function fits into the overall scenery, how shaping the earth, walking through it, alters cognition.
    Being open to what is perceived. New ideas pop up that way, too.
    When involving architects, that you need over here, for getting detailed plans for official build-permissions,
    it's always very difficult. They often ignore development over time, the surroundings (what japanese gardeners call the 'borrowed landscape'), creativity while building and much more. Imho, what makes a garden a work of art is more than 50% the gardener, not the designer. (I am trying to be both, but of course need help here and there).

    I have no meditation practice, that is directly related to the above, but indirectly, I feel Zazen being a 'training' for what is needed for my creative process.
    Being open to what happens.
    There is no right, no wrong. No good, no bad. A place beyond judgement.
    Acceptance of what is possible and what not.
    Staying concentrated on what I do, not hunting other thoughts and not pushing too much, either.
    Feeling a safe place to experiment.

    I got reminded on Zazen here and there, while watching the old 'Creativity in Management' talk from John Cleese.


    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Kotei, I would love to see some photos of your garden designs if that's possible. And if I remember correctly you have an amazing garden yourself. At the moment I'm trying to reorganise our tiny yard, approx 22 square metres, some of which is taken up with fixed features like a small shed and a staircase. It's very challenging because of the small space but also very organic and intuitive. My neighbours must think I'm crazy as I move pots around for hours, some times less than half a metre in one direction or the other - but it has such a feeling of creativity, it's like making a huge sculpture or being on the actual canvas of a painting. There's a very strong feeling of being still in the midst of movement here and one-ness with the elements.

    Tairin, I thought you made an important point there about taking lessons to keep fresh, I do the same in many ways, I think it's vital to have Beginners Mind in creative work.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  8. #8
    Kotei,

    Just had a chance to watch John Cleese's talk on creativity. I have an acquaintance, a painter, who bristles at the thought that art making is 'play'. She takes it much too seriously. And in some ways her artwork reflects that attitude. I feel so fortunate and grateful to be able to work with my hands in a joyous way. It's when I get too serious that my results might not work out so well.

    'Creativity is not a talent;it's a way of operating ' he says. Operating means being relaxed, open , expansive, purposeful and have the ability to play. Lots of wisdom in his talk and his description of getting into the 'open mode' to allow creativity in is being in a meditative state.

    Quite interesting. I might repost it when discussing creative blocks.

    The discussion about creating gardens /garden spaces is thought provoking. Its like a painter taking up residence in her canvas. A garden designer must know everything about the dimensional space, in all directions before laying out a plan. But within that knowledge there must also be freedom and vision. I guess that's true in many forms of creativity.


    Thank you all for the interesting posts and
    gassho,

    Anne
    ~st~
    Last edited by Cooperix; 10-18-2018 at 12:04 AM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    I have an acquaintance, a painter, who bristles at the thought that art making is 'play'. She takes it much too seriously.
    That’s too bad. Creativity should be fun. Look at children. They are boundlessly creative and have fun while doing it.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  10. #10
    Hi Meitou,
    unfortunately, I have not asked for permission to show the gardens, I was/am involved with.
    It started with my own garden, that won a price and got published from the local architectural association.
    My vision from a japanesque, european garden involves quite some own ideas, flexibility, reaction to the environment and longtime involvement of the owners, so not many inquiries led to a project. It's less than a dozen projects, large and small.
    Sometimes, only parts of existing gardens, where architects asked for help with coaching them and the owners, doing workshops etc.. There are not many people, that accept such partly 'unplanned' works when paying quite some money for implementing it.

    It's not an easy job, creating a smaller space, like yours and I know, what you mean with hours of pushing pots around. ;-)
    Especially in smaller gardens, like your space, there are quite some tricks involved in the japanese versions.
    Like over-accenting vanishing point perspectives; placing similar in form objects one after the other, the biggest in front, next smaller next and the smallest one further away. So the eye is tricked and thinks the last is much further away than in reality.
    Not too many objects (think about forming the empty space, not the objects) and not too small ones (else looking like a dollhouse).
    Some stepping stones or whatever in empty spaces. The eye thinks the place is smaller if it has nothing to lock on.
    I enjoy, creating a kind of fractal. Choosing a simple form like an acute angled triangle in which I arrange similar items. Sometimes choosing two similar things as one edge of the triangle, etc..
    With your staircase and the shed, there would have to be a third large object (a larger tree? a place with a bench? a rock?) to form that acute angled triangle. Different triangles would be arranged in triangles again, etc..
    Imho that creates a feeling of organic togetherness. It prevents creating unnatural symmetries, too.
    But that's even more difficult in a smaller space. And of course only my way of operating.
    Maybe you like symmetries, like in so many mediterranean designs.
    Well... I am writing too much ;-).

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    Kotei, I would love to see some photos of your garden designs if that's possible. And if I remember correctly you have an amazing garden yourself. At the moment I'm trying to reorganise our tiny yard, approx 22 square metres, some of which is taken up with fixed features like a small shed and a staircase. It's very challenging because of the small space but also very organic and intuitive. My neighbours must think I'm crazy as I move pots around for hours, some times less than half a metre in one direction or the other - but it has such a feeling of creativity, it's like making a huge sculpture or being on the actual canvas of a painting. There's a very strong feeling of being still in the midst of movement here and one-ness with the elements.
    ...
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    Hi Meitou,
    unfortunately, I have not asked for permission to show the gardens, I was/am involved with.
    It started with my own garden, that won a price and got published from the local architectural association.
    My vision from a japanesque, european garden involves quite some own ideas, flexibility, reaction to the environment and longtime involvement of the owners, so not many inquiries led to a project. It's less than a dozen projects, large and small.
    Sometimes, only parts of existing gardens, where architects asked for help with coaching them and the owners, doing workshops etc.. There are not many people, that accept such partly 'unplanned' works when paying quite some money for implementing it.

    It's not an easy job, creating a smaller space, like yours and I know, what you mean with hours of pushing pots around. ;-)
    Especially in smaller gardens, like your space, there are quite some tricks involved in the japanese versions.
    Like over-accenting vanishing point perspectives; placing similar in form objects one after the other, the biggest in front, next smaller next and the smallest one further away. So the eye is tricked and thinks the last is much further away than in reality.
    Not too many objects (think about forming the empty space, not the objects) and not too small ones (else looking like a dollhouse).
    Some stepping stones or whatever in empty spaces. The eye thinks the place is smaller if it has nothing to lock on.
    I enjoy, creating a kind of fractal. Choosing a simple form like an acute angled triangle in which I arrange similar items. Sometimes choosing two similar things as one edge of the triangle, etc..
    With your staircase and the shed, there would have to be a third large object (a larger tree? a place with a bench? a rock?) to form that acute angled triangle. Different triangles would be arranged in triangles again, etc..
    Imho that creates a feeling of organic togetherness. It prevents creating unnatural symmetries, too.
    But that's even more difficult in a smaller space. And of course only my way of operating.
    Maybe you like symmetries, like in so many mediterranean designs.
    Well... I am writing too much ;-).

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Kotei, thank you for this, you've given me so much to think about here, I think I may be stumbling along in the right direction as I'm very much into grouping. I approach focal points very much as Still Life groups. My difficulty is reconciling the aesthetics with the practical - we have to have the obligatory table and umbrella in the middle of it all! But lots of ideas to work with and I'm also looking at the aesthetic principles of Zen which are interesting. I need to be careful of the dollhouse effect, thank you for mentioning that, I do love making tiny gardens in pots to offset bigger pots, so I need to watch the balance. Great post, thank you.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  12. #12
    Hello Meitou,

    have you posted photos of your garden any place here - would love to see.

    We are fortunate to have a fair sized garden (I'm just the planner/director being in a wheelchair and not having
    much muscle power/dexterity) but my partner loves to play along and we have a gardener who helps with the
    heavy work once a week.

    I like to create 'garden rooms' so the space is carved up into several small spaces - each with their own feel. We are also always moving
    pots around!

    The garden is essential to my sense of well being - if I were well and had the energy I would love to take the sense of being near to nature into hospitals
    and nursing homes. Just now my mum (aged 93) sits in a large, vacuous lounge in a nursing home without a plant in sight. It would be so easy to create
    an indoor garden/ with water etc for the residents to look at - but the money goes on expensive flooring and large TV screens which no one is really
    watching.

    Anyway - back on topic - creativity always begins as a bit of a flash point for me - and the process is organic - I don't plan much and if i do I rarely stick to the plan!

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    Will be sitting in my garden today in the Autumn sunshine

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post
    Hello Meitou,

    have you posted photos of your garden any place here - would love to see.

    We are fortunate to have a fair sized garden (I'm just the planner/director being in a wheelchair and not having
    much muscle power/dexterity) but my partner loves to play along and we have a gardener who helps with the
    heavy work once a week.

    I like to create 'garden rooms' so the space is carved up into several small spaces - each with their own feel. We are also always moving
    pots around!

    The garden is essential to my sense of well being - if I were well and had the energy I would love to take the sense of being near to nature into hospitals
    and nursing homes. Just now my mum (aged 93) sits in a large, vacuous lounge in a nursing home without a plant in sight. It would be so easy to create
    an indoor garden/ with water etc for the residents to look at - but the money goes on expensive flooring and large TV screens which no one is really
    watching.

    Anyway - back on topic - creativity always begins as a bit of a flash point for me - and the process is organic - I don't plan much and if i do I rarely stick to the plan!

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    Will be sitting in my garden today in the Autumn sunshine
    Jinyo, I'll post a photo or two when we've had a chance to organise it a bit better, it's all such a muddle at the moment. Your idea of taking nature to nursing homes is really so good, I love the idea of the indoor gardens.

    I do believe that we all have creative energy, it's just a matter of finding a way to express it. I think gardening as a creative process is valid and beautiful, working with natural products, with nature, with living things as our materials, I don't see it as any different from picking up a paintbrush, a guitar, making a sculpture, sewing. And because it's something that many people do without any thought of it being 'art', it's a spontaneous and unselfconscious expression of their creative instinct. I'm thinking now how I would love to be able to bring that lack of self consciousness that I have in the garden to the easel - and wondering about ways in which I could explore that further. Perhaps trying to tap into that feeling could be part of the preparation process.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  14. #14
    Years ago, when I first discovered gardening I had the wonderful dilemma of where to put my energy, in the garden or in my studio. The pull was so remarkably strong for both. Back then I wrote a piece called 'the garden as metaphor' (with slides) and gave that as an art talk in conjunction with an exhibit, I barely mentioned the artwork. I eventually started doing installations with growing plants and drawing grasses and seeds. Somehow I managed to marry to two.

    Back to the topic, in some ways being in the garden for me can be an soothing entryway into my studio!

    Meitou, I agree with you that gardening is an expression of creative energy. I also believe everything we do that feeds and comes from our creative spirit is art.

    It would be so nice to see some images from you all.


    Gassho,
    Anne

    ~st~

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •