Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mindfulness and Creativity

Two years ago, aware for some time of the concept of mindful study as an integral part of Buddhism, it struck me that I had been diminishing the value of anything I loved doing if it was not "worth" something. In my case, if it didn't further my knowledge or produce a written project, it was a waste of time. Trouble was, I enjoy doing artistic things, and always have. Using my right hemisphere intensively now and then gives the busy left one (language and logic) a nice break. (And sometimes, if I'm lucky, I create a thing of beauty - for myself and maybe for others.) But I noticed that when I painted, for example, I rushed through canvasses, or did only one or two small ones in one day, and did a poor job. Not enough focus or devotion to craft! After my realization, I decided I should either paint and be mindful, present, or not bother at all.
The result was a new resurge in my abilities. Since then, I have painted several satisfying works. When I take such a break, it really is one, and not a waste of time or anything else.
This is one of last year's efforts. Only after it was finished did I realize why I painted a top-heavy tree. It represents all the projects I was taking on at the time, some quite pleasant (hence the luxurious foliage). But the tree will break if the wind blows too hard. My numerous projects were unsustainable. 
So, in addition to being a good exercise in mindfulness, and a welcome break from words, such projects can also provide a bit of insight into what's going on in my life - perhaps things I don't want to admit otherwise!

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