Robert Genn and Emily
By Robert Genn

Master Muse and talented artist Robert Genn has graciously given us permission to post his September 4, 2007 article regarding Dhyana. THANK YOU BOB!

In response to the recent letter on focus, Mohinder Puri of Delhi, India, wrote,

"It's easy to say that focus is possible through effort, but it has a great deal to do with innate mental capacity--what we call practicing "Dhyana" in Sanskrit. A certain level of focus always eludes you. It is the relative energy that conditions one's level of focus. One should practice Dhyana to overcome this."

Thanks, Mohinder. Being curious as to how the wisdom of the East might be of value in studios of the West, I've always been interested in meditational spin. The idea of Dhyana takes the form of "Chan" in China, "Zen" in Japan, "Seon" in Korea and "Samten" in Tibet. Dhyana is known as an instrument to gain self-knowledge, creativity and the ability to concentrate. The idea is to free the mind from the "five hindrances" (craving, aversion, sloth, agitation, doubt) and the distraction of discursive thinking. Interested?

In the individual practice of what I call "Natural Dhyana" we see variations of creative intelligence. Think of the relative abilities of different folks to simply absorb the knowledge of others. More importantly, think of our varying abilities to follow the advice of our inner gurus. Yep, all those nasty hindrances tend to get in the way.

Without resorting to levitation around the studio, here are a few practical ideas: In the morning and several times throughout your working day, systematically take time to "center" yourself. Relax, reassess, contemplate work in progress, and look ahead. Teach yourself to do this centering while simultaneously doing other tasks--priming, squeezing out, cleaning up.

In the close practice of your art, learn "multi-leveling," the ability to think of one thing while you're thinking of another. While your mind is ostensibly at rest, look for creative opportunities for expediency and efficiency. Let "Lazy mind," "Management mind" and "Doing mind" share life in the studio.

While energy may seem boundless, it is not. It needs respect and husbanding. Very often, simple Zen-like activities can make a difference. For example, slow down your line to half its normal speed. Take time to relish brushstroke, texture or passage. Make works of art that look fast and fresh, but take longer to accomplish. Go steadily and move calmly along your chosen path.

Best regards, Robert

PS: "There is no art without contemplation." (Robert Henri)

Esoterica: A problem for some artists is the scourge of self-sabotage. This can often be traced to simple guilt--generally to do with some of the five hindrances mentioned above. Guilt promotes poor self-esteem and can ruin careers. Eliminating the source of guilt and genuinely purifying the soul is the saint's choice--not always possible in the real world. Private meditation and Natural Dhyana, a bit like the remarkable Western convention of Confession, tends to temporarily absolve guilt, clarify direction, focus the mind and put the world more aright. Dhyana has been reported to snuff out self-defeatist gremlins.


Joseph said...

Maybe there would be no contemplation without art...

tj said...

Dhyana is powerful stuff! I have found that it brings a sense of peaceful creative confidence. When we feel this way we can have a lot more fun and amazing things happen when we're lost in having uncensored fun.

Richard said...

It is so true what you are saying about our 'energy' needing respect. Once again, balance, is the key and "Dhyana" appears to be a powerful tool towards that end.

Cheryl Finley: said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Finley: said...

Thank you for this. It reminds me that when I slow the pace of my life (which exists in my mind), I am more mindful and therefore more of me is present in that moment of my life; and in that 'the zone' appears, focus is there naturally. I needed to be reminded of that. Thank you dear Royce.

megan said...

thank you Royce...this is (big surprise) in perfect parallel with where I'm walking right now.

i'm making a little visual reminder for myself of the 5 hindrances *casad*...and i'm highlighting craving & aversion (for now).

thanks for the shepherding.

megan said...

Royce...spent some time creating a reminder for myself on this topic...thanks again. It's now posted on dot in time. I referenced your MUSEologies site & would like to add your name as well...ok with you?


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