Thursday, February 3, 2011

Direct Experience from The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori

The tea ceremony in Zen involves experiencing a cup of tea, but an important part of the ritual takes place at the end of the ceremony, when the tea master brings out all of the implements used for the guests to examine and appreciate. The tea bowl is presented as a unique work of art, without peer. It is examined by the guest both visually and tactilely.

See for yourself if it is possible for you to take up and ordinary teacup and just experience its physical existence, without naming, analyzing, judging, or evaluating it. Just feel it. See it. Touch it. Experience it without the mind moving. When you find your mind moving, acknowledge the thought, let it go, and come back to the cup in the same way that in zazen (seated meditation), when a thought arises, you acknowledge it, let it go, and come back to the breath.

You'll find that the more you repeat this, the more you'll develop the ability to experience things directly, without evaluation. You'll be able to just see, hear, feel, taste, smell. And, as your attentiveness and awareness increase with this practice, they will appear in other areas of your life and art. You will begin to notice little things that you have been seeing everyday but barely noticed in passing. This kind of mindfulness is a state of consciousness that is free of tension and focused on the here and now, with no attempt to name or even understand what is being perceived.