Gwyn Wahlmann on tue 25 sep 01
With all due respects, meditation is a different experience than
creativity. Optimal creativity involves an orchestration of forces:
memory, receptivity, spontaneity, etc in a productive activity. I think the
quality of all these elements can be diminished by distractions.
I live in a place where I hear the noise of traffic day and night.
Yesterday I happened to look at some work I did before I moved here, when I
lived in a quieter place. I noticed a sensitivity to my materials, a
personal connectedness to their details (dare I say 'essence"?) that I
haven't been able to access as well since. I used to have such excellent
focus I could forget all time, forget to eat or sleep, just dissolved myself
in my work. Now it seems I rush things, unintentionally and subconsciously
paced with the traffic.
It occurred to me that when receptivity must tune out distractions, it
can lose its fine points. The degree may vary person-to-person but when I
feel abraded by unwanted sound, I put up subconscious barriers like an
invisible band-aid. This diminishes feeling, making me less sensitive and
receptive. I become "a house divided", trying to block and be open at the
same time. It is still possible to work, but not optimally.
For similar reasons, I tend to drop clay classes. I can't do good work
in a classroom setting, with or without music. I apologized to an
instructor for this once and to my surprise she said she is the same way!
Though we may not consciously be aware of it, I think environment can be a
powerful influence. Now I'm even questioning my tendency to listen to NPR
while working, for I think it might draw from me more of a left-brained
outlook than I really want.
In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the author
describes "quality" work as taking place when barriers between subject and
object disappear and the two meld into one. He says this can be true of art
or motorcycle maintenance or anything we want to do beautifully.
What this requires may be as various as there are various personalities,
but certainly we all want the same thing, to do our best work and enjoy the
A very good book on the subject of creative absorption is titled Flow.
The author's name is about 12 consonants long so I can't remember it, but it
is well worth reading.
chris clarke on wed 26 sep 01
Everyone talking of music I just had to chime in. In my studio, which only
I am in, I have piles of cds. While I throw I listen to fast loud music,
Rob Zombie, Limp Bizkit, Metallica, and such. But when I trim it has to be
lighter, MatchBox20, Dido,the Cranberries, or I trim right through. When
I'm mixing glazes, silence, so I guess when I throw I don't think.
When I was in school there was no music, no one would have agreed. And
thank God, I've never even heard Lawrence Welk, I think I would have went
back to Biology if Don had played it. And what's with the Bubbles ? oo