October 16
Don't think!  Thinking is the enemy of
creativity.  It's self-conscious, and
anything self-conscious is lousy.
You can't try to do things;
you simply must do them.

Ray Bradbury


Today's Meditation:

Very, very often I over-think things.  My mind tends to function in a highly rational manner, and I try to analyze things very carefully and come up with logical plans for everything that I need to do.  Much more often these days, though, I'm able to fight that tendency and truly stop thinking, which usually proves to be a great thing, for it allows me to feel things more deeply and allow them to influence me rather than trying to exert my influence over them through my thoughts.

When we come from anything that's centered on ourselves, such as our thoughts, then our perspective is flawed--our ego always gets in the way and disturbs our efforts to act in a pure way that isn't simply an effort to have our will be done.  The old prayer "thy will be done" is a wonderful expression of letting go of the need to think through everything--it allows us to see what others can do and simply respond to those things without trying to make it a reflection of who we are.

It's very difficult to stop thinking sometimes.  Our ego wants to be in charge, and thought is the only method it has to trick itself into thinking that it has that type of control.  But coming from an empty mind, we can be truly creative because we're coming from a mental state of nothing, from which all true creation necessarily comes.  If we come from a state of thinking, then we'll be coming from the self, and we'll mostly be copying, not creating.

One of the most creative minds of the 20th century, Ray Bradbury should know about creativity.  And since he recently passed away, I'm going to take these words as his major piece of advice to me when I want to be creative:  Don't think!

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to you if someone tells you "don't think!"?

Why do we tend to value so much the logical, rational parts of our minds and the results of using them?

Why do Zen teachers so often teach that we should try to empty our minds?

For further thought:

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything;
it is open to everything.  In the beginner's mind there are
many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

More on creativity.
More on Zen thoughts and sayings.


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