Summer Textures

Summertime lake.
The endless blue of the sky.

Approaching the island across the lake, I think of the book I’ve been reading: The Zen of Creativity : Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori.
He has a series of exercises on “Direct Experience” or “Experiencing without Identifying” – exercises closely related to the practice of mindful meditation, with the intention of quieting the mind and seeking to simply feel or experience things before the thoughts come in.

Most of us – seasoned meditators included – will find that it is very difficult simply to listen. We hear sounds and immediately name them, or we associate them with something else, we compare them, analyze them, or try to find their source. It soon gets boring just to listen and our minds wander. It’s not easy to let things simply be and let go of our running commentary.

As we approached the island I practiced with these trees –

Trying to just feel the trees without thinking about what KIND of trees, or about their size or colour or all the things one could think about trees.
Even so, even as I sensed them as a group, as a collective presence, an alive beingness in front of us, I found myself searching for the words to describe the sensations.

And again, trying to just allow the experience of the pebbles… much subtler, so small and ubiquitous, almost imperceptible yet hinting at eternity…
And from this place one might take a photograph.

One way that our spiritual power begins to manifest is through the emergence of the intuitive aspect of our consciousness. This is one of the reasons why Zen and creativity are so intimately linked. Creativity is also an expression of our intuitive aspect. Getting in touch with our intuition helps us to enter the flow of life, of a universe that is in a constant state of becoming. When we tap into our intuition, whether in our art or simply in the day-to-day activities of our lives, we feel a part of this creative continuum.

How can any of us gain entry into this unique way of perceiving the universe, where every breath is the first breath, every sight and sound is fresh penetrating the universe, reaching everywhere? 

At one time or another, each of us has experienced this way of perceiving. It comes upon us unexpectedly. Suddenly the music moves into our being and our body responds. There is no thought, judgment, or conscious effort. The music freely passes through us. We pick up a brush and the painting flows from its tip. the poem creates itself, almost without effort

A photo here and there, I also pick up strange things from the ground and bring them inside.
I’m teaching myself to draw on the iPad – it does not yet feel very Zen at all, it is still a lot about thinking through how the mechanics work, but there is a certain amount of non-thinking possible in the presence of strange things, just looking at them and trying to sense and feel the way into a drawing rather than think.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture

15 thoughts on “Summer Textures”

        1. Well this year’s sun has been awfully tame in our neck of the woods – lately summers have been hotter and hotter (of course) but this summer has suddenly been rainy and cool. Has its own charms. Verdant gardens and the like.

  1. Thank you for your post. Very inspiring. I love the dragonfly photo. Tapping into our creativity is vital to a fulfilling life I think. I have been more creative lately and I am really enjoying it. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous in every way. I am fascinated by your photos and the meanderings, musings, and expressions of your most excellent creative mind. It is always a joy mixed with a bit of wonder to read your posts.
    Hugs my dear friend.

    1. Hugs back, dear one.
      I do feel blessed to have access to wanderings, and enough leisure to time to create….and Oh how I look forward to your posts, the breathtaking beauty of your writing, as if creating new synapses connections between words.

  3. Lovely shots. 🙂 I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to draw on the ipad. I struggle as it is with the Wacom tablet. But the nice thing is, newer and better products are being made daily. Maybe, eventually, something will be made that feels more natural.

    With Love,

    1. Hi Mandy, I find the trick for me was to think of it as a different kind of mark-making – a slippery, fluid, eraser-friendly way of drawing, rather than comparing it to the grip of paper… just too different. 🙂

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