Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Poking Holes In The Busy Mind
I don't have any new art to show due to a variety of distractions so I will do a little shameless shilling for some of the holiday cards I have posted to Etsy. And that's all I want to say about that.
As I worked away this morning clearing out the kitchen cupboards, that will be removed tomorrow to make way for new ones, I became aware of a subtle (no maybe it wasn't all that subtle!) tension. It was this tendency to rush. I need to get this done and then that done and how about the next thing, blah blah blah! There was my mind chasing me around like a horrid little boss, not even in exchange for minimum wage. Mid swish of the dish cloth, I stopped, remembering to just enjoy the pleasantness of doing. I realized I do this a lot, think of the long list of things that need doing, mostly inconsequential things in the grand scheme scenario. It creates a palpable tension in the body, steals the present moment and sucks the joy right off the bone (that's a nod to all you turkey eaters out there!)
It reminded me of a Pema Chodron video clip that I'd seen out there on the web (maybe over at Mind Deep) where Ani Pema talks about this restless state of needing to get on to the next thing. She talked about how she even experienced this unsettled feeling when she was on a solitary retreat where there was nothing that needed to be done next! So that is the state of the ego, the mind always puffing up it's important little self, creating a story of this or that. It is a habit of mind, that we can dissolve by pouring our awareness on to it. But is there more too it? Is this the mind's distraction to prop itself up, to keep us away from our real work, which is to chip away at our ego based identity, to turn this little self from a solid, hungry being into a thinner more ethereal shadowy creature, poked full of holes, the ghost of swiss cheese. Or am I on to some sort of spiritual conspiracy theory?
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.