Sailing on the River of Integration

boat1

In his book The Neurobiology of We (2008), Dr. Daniel Siegel uses the metaphor of a river of integration, flowing between two kinds of banks

“These two banks, if you will, outside of a river, of rigidity on the one hand, and chaos on the other, help us know when something is missing. And that something is called integration. And when we’re integrated, when we link different parts of our internal world and our relationships, we’re in the flow of a river that has the sense of harmony, it’s flexible, it’s adaptive, it has a coherence to it that holds together, and that’s energized and stable. Mindsight is the ability for us to see within ourselves, to dive deeply into the sea inside”.

Immersion in creative process often feels like sailing along a river, navigating the sweet spot between order and chaos. The river can be seen as the zone, or the creative flow state, where we are deeply engaged in creative process.  Sailing along the river we are in the flexible, adaptive and bounded transitional space where creative process and play emerge.  Dr. Siegel (The Mindful Brain, 2007) uses the acronym COAL: the simultaneous state of curiosity, openness, acceptance and love, to describe Mindfulness.  He says that when you have a COAL stance the rest takes care of itself .  Maybe when we are in the space between order (rigidity) and chaos we are sailing on a river of integration, where we are both intra and interconnected  through creative, harmonic and sacred process.

Hope you enjoy his his ideas about Mindsight, integration and harmony.

Slowly looking with the Buddhist “good eye”

Slowly looking

Recently I came across the Contemplative Photography movement, which incorporates Buddhist mindfulness practice with Western ways of seeing the world.  Contemplative Photography practice is based on holding an intention of learning to look and see through a lens of nonattachment. Through practice, you begin to trust the gaps in discursive thought where clear seeing and inspiration emerge in your art.

Matthieu Ricard describes Contemplative photography as

seizing the present moment as one would delicately hold a poppy without shedding its petals.  It is about nonattachment; one has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, but everything to offer to the eyes of the viewer (from jacket of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the world with fresh eyes, written by  Andy Carr and Michael Wood, Shambala, 2011)

Miksang is a Tibetan word which means “Good Eye”. The practice is founded on Shambala  and Dharma Art Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.  The word “good” relates to uncluttered vision and seizing the present moment.  In the following video “Miksang” practice is explained in a way I hope you find inspiring.

 

Madiba and the power of creative potential

Madiba

Madiba’s powerful words encapsulate many levels of meaning. Perhaps that is why they inspire and light a creative spark for so many of us. These words point to the idea that finding passion requires commitment and responsibility. The heroic attempt to live up to one’s potential and the power that entails is often an overwhelming challenge.  Marianne Williamson wrote

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? [...] Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do [...] As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The responsibility of owning our powerful creative potential requires knowing the shadow aspects of our personality.  Artist Louise Bourgeois had a deeply personal lens through which she artistically engaged with her shadow and what she felt was the burden of her own creative potential power.  Bourgeois wrote

I’m afraid of power; it makes me nervous [...] In my art I am the murderer, the man who has to live with his conscience… As an artist I am a powerful person.  In real life I feel like the mouse behind the radiator… By withdrawing, by recognizing that you have no power, you become more than yourself.  You get ideas which never would have occurred to you .  In my art, I live in a world of my own making.  I make decisions.  I have power.  In the real world, I don’t want power

Bourgeois was able to create powerful art by acknowledging her shadow side and fears. She played with both positive and negative aspects of power and its potential for both good and evil.

In his lifetime, Madiba also experienced both the dark and light sides of power.  His words are meaningful because they emerge from a deeply felt, impassioned life experience, a life that entailed great courage, risk and exploration of the unknown, all elements of the archetype of the creative hero.

“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
― Mary Oliver

treasure

The most treasured moments are those timeless ones where you are totally engaged with whatever you are doing.  You are in the zone, the canvas, the rock climbing or the conversation.  You are completely focused and feel positive shifting of energy.  This experience is a cultural universal.  When we are in that place we are connected, fulfilled, at “one” with and at home.  Just what is this state of consciousness or energy that gets activated?

Chi is described as the universal life force or energy that permeates everything in existence. Is this mysterious river of energy  related to Mihali Csikszentmihalyi’s flow state, the state of mind where we are optimally challenged and totally engaged?

Watch John Vervaeke explain the psychological experience of Chi………Chi Explained Without Magic.

Hurrying Slowly

“When you pay attention  to your dreams, you inhabit a much larger part of your soul.”
- Robert Bosnak

In his book Embodiment: Creative Imagination in Medicine, Art and Travel, Robert Bosnak, writes about how images are embodied by the dreamer. He views dream images as places of emotion, or as image environment ecosystems in which we find ourselves. He states “Place and storytime are simultaneous and indistinguishable, portrayed as a moment in place as seen from above” (p.18).  Rather than projecting onto an image, we interact, engage and dialogue with images. Through creative imaginal process we both shape and are shaped by images in dreams and/or art.

slowdown1

Here is a video where Robert Bosnak speaks to the importance of slowing down and paying attention to the particulars……

Art and Dreaming

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”  Vincent Van Gogh.

In his book Dream Tending: Awakening to the healing power of Dreams, Dr. Stephen Aizenstat writes that dream images are like characters in a story.  Dream images give meaning to our life’s story, just as characters in novels give meaning to the narrative.

“An artist is constantly looking into an object, stripping away what is superfluous, in order to see its innate beauty.  Even a careful look at the surface of an object reveals that which is lit up from the inside” (Aizenstat, p. 263).

teachers, artists and horses. about learning to pay attention.

horse

Whats the connection between horses, teachers and artists?  Creatively foraging and found Artist Bruce Nauman sharing his thoughts on You Tube.  One interesting point he makes is that good teachers get right to the difficult spots, just like good artists go right to the difficult parts in whatever medium they work in.

Follow Susan Leopold Illustration on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 686 other followers

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding Blog

Blog, research and observations about creative intelligence by Tim Girvin and team, exploring brand culture and experience, place-making, storytelling, interactivity, community, content and reflection. What do brands feel like? If there's a story, who cares? We do, and write about it.

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

This is a writer's blog for authors, business people, creative people, freelancers, journalists, publishers, and poets. They will learn the ins and outs of writing for publication. Both beginning and experienced writers will profit from it.

The Whole Megillah

The Writer's Resource for Jewish-themed Story: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

Design of the Picture Book

the intersection of graphic design + picture books

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Susan Leopold Illustration

Blog of illustrator Susan Leopold

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 686 other followers

%d bloggers like this: