Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Art of Non-Doing (and Mindful Awareness)

A continuation of sorts, of last week's discussion (To Just Be), but in another dimension, perhaps.

I'm prompted to continue this discussion since my shadow here is a profile of a statue of a seated Buddha on a shelf on my front porch (which seems to yield me a vast array of shadow shots as you might come to realize over time-my front porch, I mean).

The state of enlightenment that all Buddhists aspire for is one where the world can be viewed without any preconceived notions. The prerequisite for achieving this state is called "satori". When your mind is free from all learned ideas of the world, it is then that you can see it as it is. It takes mindful awareness and non-doing along with a focus or devotion to the task at hand that satori can be reached.

As artists, I believe that we can come close to this satori when we get completely immersed in what we are doing. All the peripheral stuff disappears. There is no sense of time. When are completely absorbed in the task at hand and when we come out of it, we are truly in a state of euphoria. This only happens when all these elements are present along with the mind becoming quiet; the internal chattering quiets down. It is then that we are in the moment. But still, a long ways off to achieving the state of enlightenment that Buddha speaks of! If only it could be that simple.

I come close to this state when I work in a mode I call "spontaneous combustion". I'm creating in a moment something that I had no preconceived notion of. Things just happen (and later, I will not be able to recall the process by which I created said art). No expectations of the outcome. Just sheer joy in doing, or maybe, non-doing is more accurate since I didn't start out to do something.

So, doing nothing is doing something, really. Really.

This message of living in the moment has been a reoccurring theme for me. Constantly, I remind myself. It takes constant reminding. It's a message I repeat every year in the missives that I send out during the Holidays.

In your repetoire, be sure to include the art of non-doing (and mindful awareness)!

Be sure to visit Hey Harriet's blog for more beautiful shadow entries on Shadow Shot Sunday.


K S said...

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Hey Harriet said...

Beautiful Buddha shadow! I like the way you've explained things here. I try reading Buddhist books and often have difficulty grasping things (mainly with books with a focus on Zen Buddhism), so I really appreciated this post. The way you use examples (ie: your art etc...) was helpful. Thanks again for a great read & a wonderful shadow :)

Hey Harriet said...

Oh I forgot to say that I really love the line "doing nothing is doing something"

That line may come in handy to quote to my boss during times it may appear that I'm doing nothing ;)

Richie's 2ts Inspires said...

Ha! very dramatic shot! You really captured great shadow shots!

Hmmm... great reading too.

Have a nice Sunday!

Rosebud Collection said...

What a great shadow.."Doing nothing, is doing something"..glad you said that..I have been in that state for awhile this winter..
Happy SSS..

High Desert Diva said...

Wonderful...the sentiment and the shadow shot.

Sweet Repose said...

The azure colors of enlightenment, beautiful words and stunning eye candy.

smith kaich jones said...

It's the no expectations part that is key, I think, especially in this world of constant expectations. That passing of time when I am immersed in something - lately, it's been writing - is irreplaceable. Works like a valium every time. :)

You are getting deep lately. I'm liking it!

:) Debi

PS - I have just ordered books on Wabi-Sabi for poets & writers, etc. I'll give you a review when I get them. My writing style is already pretty wabi-sabi! LOL!

twobarkingdogs said...

nice photo! coming back later to read more. thanks for sharing.

bobbie said...

the shadow of the statue is really wonderful.

Lisa B. said...

Nice SS...and lovely essay on mindfulness! Thanks:)

Leau said...

Love the image, love the color and love the composition/angle/spacing. Good job! smooches

Dianne said...

the shadow is wonderful

your discussion is at the top of mind recently, I need to stay in the moment, something that is so often difficult for me

Bobbi said...

Great shadow shot and very thought provoking post. I have been trying to work on quieting my mind and living in the moment, it's quite an amazing thing (and awfully hard to do!!!)

Raven said...

Good message and lovely shadow photo. Life is so much better when we can be in the moment, but it's not always easy to do, at least not for someone raised to worry and live in the past and future as I was. I think you are right that art and creativity are wonderful roads into that spiritual place of just being.

J Santa Fe said...

Lovely post, Paula -
the concept of being without doing is a long reach for most of western civilization. ... . . JJjjj


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