Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Open and Playful - John Daido Loori

Zen art is open-ended. The enso or Zen circle, a symbol of enlightenment, for example, is almost always left open. The missing piece is to be supplied by the viewer. In completing the brushwork, the viewer gets involved and experiences a sense of completion to the art. Haiku only presents a glimpse, yet its emotional impact can be enormous because the reader has room to enter and create the full picture. The poet only provides the seed.


Whether serious or playful, witty or evocative, Zen is alive because it is spontaneous. If you want to experience this spontaneity in your own life and work, don't waste your energy on judgment or reflection. This is a good photograph, this is a bad photograph. I like this, I don't like that. That's just the brambles, the entanglements that keep us from really getting in touch with our creative heart.

Naturalness, spontaneity, and playfulness are all aspects of the ordinary mind that catches a glimpse of the world of things just as they are. To live this life fully means to see all of it. The doorway to this experience is the creative process. Please delve deeply into it. Give it a chance to do what it is capable of doing. Engage it fully with the whole body and mind. If you do, sooner or later, this limitless way of being will be your own. It will never make sense, and you'll never be able to explain it to anybody, but you will experience it, and by so doing, you will make it real.

John Daido Loori, The Zen of Creativity, Cultivating Your Artistic Life (2004)