Aug 26, 2013
“To be creative means to consider the whole process of life as a process of birth, and not to take any stage of life as a final stage.” Eric Fromm
For social psychologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, creativity wasn’t necessarily about bringing something — a poem, a symphony, a sculpture — into being. For him, creativity was an attitude. Creativity was the ability first to be aware, and then to respond. In this sense, creativity may produce works of art that can be viewed in a gallery, but it is also a way of living. Creativity may produce not only art but a life lived with awareness, a life imbued with meaning, a life lived well. Creativity is about allowing life to come into being — fully.
When I sat down to write this post just a few minutes ago, I looked at …
Mar 11, 2013
Last night I sat without a timer, or rather using a stick of incense to time my sit. Recently I bought some rather lovely Shoyeido Nokiba (Moss Garden) incense, which has long sticks that burn for 50 minutes. It’s a nice alternative to using my iPad as a timer. Sometimes it’s nice not to have electronics between me and my little altar.
The Boys in the Basement offered up some interesting experiences. The “Boys in the Basement” is a term I borrowed from the novelist Stephen King. He uses it to refer to the creative powers of the mind. I write quite a lot, and the term resonated …
Nov 07, 2012
I just stumbled across a lovely column by author Pico Iyer in the New York Times on “The Joy of Quiet.”
He discusses how overwhelmed we are:
In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.
I tend to think of us — well, most of us, anyway — as being a bit like early 20th century rubes from the sticks who have just arrived on Times …
Jan 30, 2012
Joe, a student in my online class, was worried that meditation would hurt his career. He works in a very competitive business where everyone is single-mindedly pushing and driving hard all the time. The whole idea of “letting go” seemed absurd in that context. But at the same time his stress and anxiety levels were sky high. He knew this wasn’t a sustainable way to live.
Yes it’s true that in meditation, we’re told to drop everything and let go. But that doesn’t mean becoming passive and ineffectual. There’s more to this instruction than meets the eye.
There’s an image that comes to mind for me to …
Jun 05, 2011
When we think of changing our lives for the better, we may think of a new job, a new home, a new relationship, or material wealth – more “things” that we think will improve our lives.
Recently I saw a bumper sticker that read “the best things in life are not things” – it made me smile and I started thinking about ways to live a better life without looking for or wanting more stuff.
Here is my list:
1. Simplify – rather than desiring more, find ways to live with less. Bring clothing to Good Will or a charity. Clear away clutter from countertops and tables. If you have not used something or worn …
Feb 05, 2011
Research suggests that people who feel gratitude benefit in the following ways:
2. less depressed
3. less stressed
4. more satisfied with their lives and social relationships
5. aware of their purpose in life
6. self confident
8. able to cope with the difficulties in positive ways
9. more likely to seek support from other people, and
10. able to learn and grow from their experiences.
It has been said that gratitude is strongly linked with mental health. Several times in my life I have kept a gratitude journal, in which I have …
Nov 11, 2010
Paul Klee, the famous Swiss/German expressionist painter, may seem to be making an almost mystical claim here — that creativity comes from beyond the conscious mind. I think you’d be right in assuming that creative impulses come from unconscious parts of the mind, but not that this is an exclusively mystical state. In fact, all action ultimately has this quality of coming from “beyond,” but we simply fail to notice this most of the time, because we’re in the grip of the illusion that the conscious mind is “us,” that it owns our actions, and that it’s in control.
When I speak, I’m often aware that my words come …
Mar 31, 2010
The more aware we become of ourselves, the more we notice that our minds resort to pre-programmed “scripts” — habitual ways of reacting to the world. Srimati discusses how awareness creates the freedom to choose our responses and free ourselves from our conditioning.
Srimati is a freelance spiritual teacher, writer and co-founder of Thrivecraft Coaching, and a former member of the Western Buddhist Order.
She is currently engaged in publishing her whole body of work via books, articles, CDs, films, and the internet. Her aim is to contribute accessible and relevant spiritual intelligence to mainstream modern life and business. Srimati’s CD, Answers: Finding …
Jun 30, 2009
Every time Sunada watches Bobby McFerrin or Yo-Yo Ma perform, she’s left in awe. It’s not just their amazing musicianship, she says. What uniquely comes through in their music is their generosity of spirit and totally engaging way of expressing their individuality. As a musician herself, she muses on what it takes to cultivate that kind of open-hearted spontaneity and creativity.
I recently read an interesting discussion that’s given shape to my thinking on this subject. It was about the difference between spontaneity and impulsivity. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some subtle but important differences.
Mar 20, 2008
Vajradaka looks back on a meeting in a smoky Jazz club and explores the mystery of empathetic communication between artist and audience.
I once had a chance encounter with a jazz musician that had a big effect on me and characterized some of the important qualities of living a creative life. At the time I was living up in the hills of Wales and coming down to London periodically. During one such visit I went to a jazz gig at the old Vortex in Stoke Newington, as part of the London Jazz Festival. It was smoky and dark with only a dozen people in the audience. We did not need much empathy to …