Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Musings

I've been sitting on this link for quite awhile, trying to decide what I think about it. Perhaps it caught my eye because it came shortly after I finished a pretty intense meditation class, one that had me stopping to consider my real motivation, or intention, before continuing with an action. It's kin to learning to recognizing the difference between reacting and responding. Before reading this conversation (Work In Progress website), I hadn't stopped to think how this might relate to the art I might produce. Author Ethan Nichtern makes this observation:

“What am I putting out there and why? Does it contribute something, or am I just celebrating confusion?” You start to question what the appropriate expression is and what the compassionate expression is. Not that you can’t be dirty or ironic, or express really intense life situations, but we have to ask, “What is the purpose of putting this out there?” When you are a practitioner, it’s not that your emotions get deadened, but your intention becomes more important.
"Practitioner" refers back to earlier in the interview - those who regularly meditate and I believe, Buddhists in particular (disclaimer - I am not a Buddhist but I see value in some of the thought processes and viewpoints). Because I have never believed that artists must be going through some terrible angst to produce great art, it was encouraging to have this conversation agree. The interviewer noted that "I had this idea that if I became more at peace with myself, and especially my emotions, my creative work would suffer." Nichtern responded:

"I know a huge number of highly successful creative people who are dedicated practitioners. Luckily what you find out when you actually practice for a long time is that your emotions are not going anywhere...[instead} there is this growing sense of clarity and recognition."
Now I must admit that my own meditation practice is rather sporadic. But I have had this experience of clarity and recognition, when an answer involving a particularly emotional piece has arisen during meditation (case in point - "Bubble Prayers: Release" - read the story here). It's that thing you hear so often these days about all the answers being within you. I'm just skeptical enough to hedge at saying ALL the answers are within, but I'm learning to trust that I have more answers available than I once thought.
I've really worked backwards through this interview, now wanting to share with you something that was near the beginning. Nichtern is talking about the traditional Buddhism analogies about a path when so much of Buddhism is about stillness.
"The word for basically all our cycles of destructive behavior, samsara, literally means wandering around; “the commuter” comes from the Tibetan word for a confused sentient being, which means something like “always on the go” or “goer.” So I thought about the unsettling feeling of not ever being at home where you are—that we are always trying to get somewhere else—and realized it’s the basic definition of confusion."
That last line, that we are always trying to get somewhere else, really does describe so many of us, me included. To call that confusion hit home just a little bit. I'm still mulling all this over, especially how it may relate to my creative journey. But I think there are key things in this conversation to consider, especially that part about intention. What do you think?


Living to work - working to live said...

I wish I was more at peace with myself. There seems to be continual inner torment, not so much that I suffer daily angst, but just enough to be slightly unsettled. I think a lot of it must be to do with my bizarre domestic arrangements - technically living in one place but spending the great majority of my time and feeling more at home in another.

Then I also have a constant underlying scene of guilt about family and in particular the fact that I do not see enough of my aged mother, who lives in another direction again, and usually feel most at ease when I'm not with my partner ( that's a whole book in itself!) yet we are still together after 30+ years.

So this post sort of got me thinking. I have never tried meditation and to be honest I am not sure if it is for me, but I wonder if it would help me resolve some of these things.

Look - you've got me all philosophical!!
Much love

Hilary xxx

The Inside Stori said...

Oh my....what a thought provoking post. Your explanation/benefit of meditation was well stated. I have to admit, I'm more of a perpetual motion kinda gal, who could perhaps use a bit more quiet time...making me wonder....why do I avoid that?

I was sad after reading Hilary's comment but upon reflection.....'recognition & hope' came to mind.

Interesting subject!

The Idaho Beauty said...

I was probably as surprised as anyone that I have taken to the meditation route. When I attended my first yoga class (a gift from a niece), I resolved not to roll my eyes at anything that was said, as I was doing this for the strengthening exercise and not for any new agey stuff. I was blessed with an incredible teacher who has guided me through so much personal stuff and made so much sense that there has been no need to roll my eyes.

Hilary, you sound like the prefect candidate for meditation. In my experience, it will not change what is happening to you but it will shift your perspective, help you reconnect with what is really important to you and help you to stop clinging to things that may be holding you back. With the right teacher, it will provide you tools for dealing with what the world throws at you.

Mary, meditation doesn't have to be a long drawn out thing. There are suggestions for meditation practice that is as short as a minute. I find that the new ten minute guided one from this last class just calms and settles me so I can get on with things and the ten minutes it takes is nothing. It can be more rejuvenating than a nap! But just the fact that you are posing that question about avoidance - well, that is one of the things meditation can help you sort out. Then you can get back to your perpetual motion which may be as much about your personality type as anything. ;-)

Will e-mail both of you with more thoughts about this.