Goth face

[Living Buddhism] The daily report continues

I realized that I forgot to jot down one of my thoughts regarding art as a form of meditation last night. I remembered reading about the mandalas that Tibetan monks make and felt that my own artwork, although different in it's symbolism and actual purpose, was in a way akin to this practice. The mandalas are meant to illustrate Buddhahood and enlightenment by painting images of celestial Buddha's and their Buddha realms. They are visual representations of our own innate Buddha nature. If we follow the Mahayana Buddhist ideas of oneness and of this world (samsara) being the same as nirvana, then one could use anything from samsara to realize nirvana. In fact, that is part of what the Tibetan mandalas are; images that use the things of this world to bring us closer to the understanding of nirvana.

Another thought that occured to me was the fact that I have been creating the art and then either selling it or giving it to others. To me, this is an exercise in dettachment since I usually like to hang on to my artwork. I get attached to it and often feel that I can't part with it. This type of attachment is exactly what causes dukkha (suffering). The paintings are not permanent and neither am I so there is no point in trying to believe otherwise. This doesn't mean that I am not proud of my achievements or that I can't enjoy the artwork but rather that I am able to recognize that they are impermanent and will not last forever (nor will I). By trying to hang on to them that strongly, I will only cause myself suffering should something happen to them (eg. - if they got damaged). Of course, I can understand this on an intellectual level but actually having that level of dettachment is something that I haven't yet achieved.

This morning I thought that it would be nice to be able to spend some of my day doing menial chores like the monks and nuns would do in the monasteries. I have a feeling that just the act of sweeping or washing floors would be fairly meditative in itself. I suppose I might think differently if I had to do it though.

I also noticed how much we distract ourselves in North America (and I'm sure in other countries as well). We listen to our iPods, we watch our TVs, we read, we chat on the computer... anything to keep our minds busy. We are not accustomed to quieting our minds, in fact, we seem to seek the exact opposite; constant stimulation. We stimulate our mind through sound, taste, sense, sight, anything that is available. And when we aren't stimulated by some external thing, we distract ourselves with thoughts. We go over a conversation we had with our mother/father/partner/boss that we had the other day. We fantasize about the movie that we're going to see with our friends on the weekend. We keep the mind active, always thinking, always reflecting. It's no wonder that so many Westerners have difficulty with meditation. We are programmed to use our minds in the opposite way. Even when I try to meditate, I notice myself thinking about journaling the experience instead of just experiencing it in the moment. I wonder why we've become such sensory junkies and am fascinated by it at the same time. I wonder how difficult it will be to reprogram this over-stimulated mind.
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
I am enjoying reading your experiences of buddhism. I've tried to get more people to look into the core concepts in order to provide a sort of balance to our externally-focused western world, but few people are intrigued in a more than ephemeral way.

Personally, I float between buddhism, western witchiness, and a sprinkling of generic-for-now shamanism. I enjoy my body and the pleasures that the senses provide and do not feel any of that is something to overcome, but at the same time, I recognize that these pleasures are not the be-all, end-all of existence. Nothing is permanent; everything is in a constant state of flux. Enjoy things as they happen, but let them go so that you can experience other things.

Putting the precepts into practice is something few people in this hemisphere are able to do because of the core values we were raised with. Watching people become more mindful, notice more around them, focus more on the task at hand -- it's kinda gratifying, in a way, because it makes me feel like I'm not the only one trying to do this in my life.

Thank you.
You're very welcome. I'm glad you enjoy it! It's definitely turning out to be an interesting journey for me.

I also tend to float between a few different paths (Buddhism, Paganism in general, Wicca) and don't feel that our pleasures/senses are something that needs to be overcome either. Being in tune with myself in general, however, is something that really appeals to me, so I tend to experiment with a variety of different experiences in order to come closer to this "attunement".

I also find it fascinating/gratifying to watch people grow and break out of the traditional roles and discover the variety of life. There's just something really amazing about people finding their potential.
I definitely think that menial chores can be meditative as well as actual 'set aside' meditation. I know that when I was doing a laundry service at one of my first jobs, particularly when doing all the sheets and towels of the massage therapists that used our service, all of the constant repetitive folding was very relaxing and meditative.

I also remember when I was talking with co-workers about walking home that one day after work, and how I did it with no music or other people for company. At least one person said they couldn't do it without their iPod or something to "do". I was just content to walk and listen.
I deliberately set out to just walk about the city sometimes, usually when I'm feeling edgy or disconnected -- I find it invigourating, recharging, even grounding, just to experience the hustle and the bustle of the urban landscape. Doing that is enough to "do" for me, too. :>
I wonder if it's just because I was raised in the country but I always try to find the "quiet" spots in the city. Although I have moments where I really like being surrounded by all the hustle and bustle, I find that I often get a bit overwhelmed by it all (mainly the noise). I love the city though. After living without all the conveniences, I really appreciate having them so close at hand again.
I'm a girl of extremes -- I love the isolation of the country as much as the inner cityscape -- and I've moved alot, and lived and spent considerable time in both urban and rural settings. Both do have their attractions :>
I know how hard it is to give up artwork, even when I get paid for it. It's like you put a piece of your inner energy into it, it becomes a physical manifestation of your emotions and dreams, and then it leaves you like a grown child. I also find doing art extremely meditative, sometimes its good therapy for me.

Your Buddhism practices are helping you grow more, helping you find inner peace, which is wonderful.
Your analogy is great! I've always felt that they're like little reflections of yourself.

The search for inner peace always continues and I just love exploring the different paths. It really is wonderful.