the path of mindfulness

Occasionally I read books on meditation and mindfulness.  I’ve never tried to actually practice meditating – well, maybe once or twice – but it didn’t stick – but I do like to read about it and hope that something beneficial will register with me in the process.

One area I find interesting about people is the way we compartmentalize our lives.

Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this is his book, Peace is Every Step, The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.  He mentions how we should be able to bring the practice of meditation into our daily lives and not just during the period of time we spend on meditating  (assuming we do meditate).  He questions the reader…’ do you practice breathing between phone calls?, do you practice smiling while cutting carrots?, do you practice relaxing after hours of hard work? ‘.  These are practical questions, he says.  If you know how to apply meditation to dinner time, leisure time, sleeping time, etc. it will penetrate your daily life…Mindfulness can penetrate the activities of everyday life, each minute, each hour of our daily life, and not just be a description of something far away.

Which got me to thinking…if this process works for bringing mindfulness into our daily lives…then wouldn’t a similar process work for bringing creativity into our daily lives as well?  If we ‘practice’ seeing like artists – visualizing like artists, thinking like artists – at all times of the day – even when we are not in the studio…don’t you think that practice could impact our work when we are in the studio?

I do realize we, as artists, tend to do this to some extent already…but maybe there is still more we can do – to formalize it so it becomes more a part of the process…

I’m just thinking out loud.

Gift from the Sea

Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s reflections on a woman’s life were matured in active years of family living and stimulated by conversations with men and women who experience the same problems and feel the same need for assessing the true values of life.

The setting of her book is the sea shore; the time, a brief vacation which had lifted her from the distractions of everyday existence into the sphere of meditation.  As the sea tosses up its gifts – shells rare and perfect – so the mind, left to its ponderings, brings up its own treasures of the deep.  And the shells become symbols here for the various aspects of life she is contemplating.

In a blend of complete sincerity and delicacy, so uniquely her own, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares with the reader her awareness of the many frustrating elements we face today: the restlessness, the unending pressures and demands, the denial of leisure and silence, the threat to inner peace and integration, the uneasy balance of the opposites, man and woman.  With radiant lucidity she makes visible again the values of the inner life, without which there is no true fulfillment.  She does this without the overtones of preaching, but herself as a seeker, echoing – only clearer and stronger – our own small still voice.