Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life And The Creative Process

I attended a talk on wednesday at The Interdependence Project, and it was all about Buddhism and the creative process, centered around two books: The Way of Zen by Alan Watts, and Coming From Nothing by Lee Worley.

Lee Worley says there are 4 stages of the creative process:
1. Be open to a new idea or experience with a fresh mind
2. Trust and go with the experience for a bit rather than trying to
fit it into a pattern you are familiar with
3. Keep taking chances with your actions even after doubt and second
guessing has creeped back into your awareness
4. When a project is complete, let it go, to give room for the
next thing to arise

I was seeing that this creative process is helpful to your life as well as your art. It's an approach that is chasing synchronicity -- an intuitive and open way of approaching experience; a Couldn't Care Less Mind; the Taoist approach of going with the flow, and the Zen approach of doing without doing; no big deal living. When you are open to new experiences, don't pigeonhole those experiences into old paradigms, keep taking chances when doubt comes, and let go of the past, you give yourself the opportunity to make connections with new people, get out of your routine, and really live.

Central to this approach is the importance of awkward space. Like that moment when you're sitting on the subway but you're not listening to your iPod or reading your book or doing some other distraction and you're not trying to avoid everyone around you. It is awkward for a few minutes but then someone talks to you and you make a new friend, all because you let that empty space open for something to happen. Awkward space can be hard to live in at times but it lets new and good things unfold into the breathing room you create in your life.

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