Alas, we’ve made it to the final post in my Tao of Creativity series. Thank you for taking the time to read and be inspired by the quotes from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Let’s take some time to explore these final two quotes and how you can apply them to your life as an artist.
The Glass is Empty but Full of Ideas
We are inundated by content of all kinds 365 days a year. From movies, TV, ads, YouTube videos, billboards, news articles, and social media posts, our minds are constantly assaulted by sights and sounds vying for our attention.
All of these distractions can make it difficult for an artist to focus and create, leading to frustration and even the urge to walk away and return to those shiny objects of distraction.
Fight that urge!
But how does one empty their mind of all the junk and free their creative self?
Start by turning off the distractions and being alone in a room alone. The silence might be uncomfortable at the start, but after a while, your mind will begin to purge all those distractions and leave you open to creativity and imagination. Don’t worry; those distractions on your phone, tablet, or TV aren’t going anywhere. But for now, permit yourself to empty your mind and allow your creative energy to flow back in.
By doing this, you’ll discover that “[a]n Empty sort of mind is valuable…it can see what’s in front of it. An Overstuffed mind is unable to” (146). You’ll be able to do your best work when you’re not distracted by things outside yourself and instead work to find and listen to your unique creative voice that’s often drowned out by noise all day long.
Meditation could help calm your mind and help you create. Or using ambient noise like the ocean or rain to help you focus. Whatever you do, work to empty out your overstuffed mind and allow your creative thoughts in.
Harness the Power of a Clear Mind
The mind is a powerful tool. It can be used to create or destroy. Love or hate. Inspire or insult. All of us have the free will to decide how we use this tool, and part of finding our creative power is clearing out the mental clutter and allowing ourselves to explore that artistic purpose. Just like with Spring cleaning, sometimes you must clear out your brain to find the valuable items buried beneath the junk.
And modern society has certainly helped to fill our minds with plenty of junk!
Before creating, take a few minutes to journal about all the clutter that currently takes up space in your brain. It can be anything from personal issues to a TV show you’re fixated on. The key here is to literally dump all that junk on the page to clear space in your mind for creativity. Now, you have room to focus and work on your artistic endeavor with a clear mind that’s free and open to fresh ideas.
It’s important to note that “[t]he power of a clear mind is beyond description. But it can be attained by anyone who can appreciate and utilize the value of Nothing” (150). What does “appreciate and utilize the value of Nothing” mean?
There are two ways I interpret this sentence:
- It means that once we harness the ability to clear our minds of the toxic clutter distracting us daily and get those distractions down to Nothing, we can begin to truly find the creativity within us.
- All the distractions around us are empty calories, poisoning our creativity. Once we understand and appreciate that these outside distractions provide Nothing healthy to us as artists, we can flush them away and give ourselves greater creative clarity in the long run.
Allowing ourselves to empty our minds and find creative clarity limits the power distractions have over us. Ultimately, these distractions – while fun at times – offer little to no real value when it comes to discovering and expressing our personal creativity.
This series has been quite an insightful creative journey for me, and I hope it’s been one for you, too. Personal creativity is an awesome force that we all have the power to nurture, develop, and express in myriad ways.
As you go through your own creative journey over the next year, feel free to revisit these posts for insights and inspiration, or get a copy of The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff and see what else he has to say on the principles of Taoism.
Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next time!