Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Letting Go

Interviewer: “Master, how did you think of the divine motif of your Ninth Symphony?”

Anton Bruckner: “I sat down by a little brook, unpacked my Swiss cheese, and that darn tune popped into my head!”

Sometimes we simply think too much. I’ve written about being aware of your thoughts. But sometimes (more often than not) our minds are so consumed with what we’ve done or what we are going to do that we completely miss out on what is happening to us (in us) at the moment. Precious creative ideas can breeze right on by us and we miss out on them completely. This is a tragedy for an artist.

Bruckner’s account of opening a package of cheese only to encounter his brilliant Ninth Symphony is a perfect illustration. All he was thinking about was opening his lunch and voila! Genius knocked on the door! Do you have to “be” a genius for those moments to appear? I highly doubt it. I believe that we just need to be “aware” of the possibilities in the moment and be watching for them.

It is true that we need to practice our craft, be it painting, playing an instrument, writing, etc. We need to nurture our creative nature by “breathing in” the wonders of life. We need not be self-consumed. However, we do need to care for our body (one person calls it his “earth suit”), our mind and our spirit if we are to do our best at anything. But let’s face it…we too often allow our minds to become cluttered with too much random, useless and repetitive information. This is a bad habit that creates “busy-ness”, clouds our judgments and creates confusion. It is a huge distraction. In short, it makes us miserable.

I would like to suggest that the next time you sit down to create, whatever that may be, try to clear your mind of thoughts of the day’s trouble. Let go of yesterday and worries about tomorrow. Be present in the moment of your creative “right now”. Just let it all go and see what happens.

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