Chapter 5


Wise words from our friend JLD. In this chapter John Loori Daido focuses on the uniqueness of our vision. He spends a bit of time deconstructing the act of creativity. We all know and can identify with each of the points but I expect we all experience creating a work of art as a singular act. Knowing the mechanisms of creativity can facilitate our creativity when we find ourselves blocked… maybe my mind is too busy, a good time to try to find the still place, or the subject matter is not really speaking to me now, energy level tanked, etc.

He reminds us that the editing process requires the same focus, stillness and intuition that we used to make the art in the first place. And reminds us to let go of the final product when completed to clear the way for the next creative moment. I feel this critical to my creativity, not attach to each completed work. Actually, that’s fairly easy for me as I so love the process of making art that the product is secondary to the process! I’m ready to move on.

There is a place for criticism in art, but when developing our creative effort is not a time for judgement. And be assured in this forum we offer a supportive non-judgmental space.

And finally, I love the reminder to offer gratitude at the completion of a project. I don’t think I have ever done that consciously, but what a lovely practice.
Expressing gratitude is essential, especially if we need to return to our work and reawaken the bond that was initially created.
-Is it hard for you to let go of the product of your creativity? For some people I know that’s a big one.
-Do you have any special way to offer gratitude when a work is complete?
-Anything that struck you as helpful or confusing? I had to read his breakdown of the act of creativity a few times to really be able to see those stages in my own work. Lots going on that I’d never considered.

Have fun with Meitou’s prompt!

'Thus what different types of beings see is different, and we should reflect on this fact. Is it that there are various ways of seeing one object, or is it that we have mistaken various images for one object?' - Master Dogen in The Rivers and Mountains Sutra.

Hello everyone and welcome to the prompt for Chapter 5.

This prompt is a little different for a couple of reasons – firstly, I'm using John Daido Loori's prompt at the end of Chapter 5 -'Expressing Things for What Else They Are' and so would ask you to read this prompt carefully and allow your mind to open to anything that this brings up for you.

Secondly, this will be a photo prompt – I hope that we all have access to some way of making a photo, via our phones usually, and some of you will have cameras. If you have neither of these, you may have an iPad or tablet with a camera, or a computer with a built in camera or attachable webcam. Along with those devices there is usually a photo editing facility, which you can also make use of in this project.

So after reading JDL's words and considering Anne's discussion above, paying particular attention to how each of us has a unique vision, and after a short sit to enter your still point, I'd like you to move around your room, or your house, your garden, the street, the desert, the mountain - wherever you feel taken - and let yourself open to something that speaks to you. It doesn't have to be pretty, or photogenic, but it needs to intrigue you with its form, colour, pattern, texture. Look into the heart of it, let go of naming. See it for What Else It Is. As JDL says,
At first, the familiar surface aspects of the object will become apparent. It may take some time for the subject to reveal its more subtle and mysterious dimensions. Be patient. Be willing to be with your subject without knowing what it is, without projecting your ideas on to it.
Take as many photos as feels right. Check them - are they just representations of, for example, a teapot? Or is something else, something more coming forth – a beautiful curved form, light reflecting from a surface, an abstraction of shape within the background it is in? Experiment with editing your images, perhaps cropping into a different shape, cutting away some of the image, using different filters to express mood, using a black and white filter to express light and shadow play, rotating the image. What emerges? You may, like JDL in the examples I will put up in a following post, want to add some words to express what is speaking to you. Find your own unique vision. When you are satisfied with your results, take a moment to feel gratitude toward your subject and your own expression – and above all, have fun.

Again, please feel free to post as many images as you want, but also know that it's fine if you prefer not to share them – the process is the important thing.
If you feel inspired by this prompt to know more, I can recommend any of John Daido Loori's own books of photography, in particular my favourite 'Making Love with Light'. You may also be interested in this website which specializes in contemplative photography, a practice that was originally given form by Chogyam Trungpa.


Anne and Meitou

we sat today