Sunday, August 21, 2011

Zen Up Close and Personal

detail of handmade scrolls

Zen has one aim: to encourage us to take a longer and closer look at all that is around us in the hope that once we have developed a more intense insight we will grow to cherish and nurture this earth and all its inhabitants. Every day events take on new meaning.

water basin with koi near my real koi pond

When we practice Zen we embark on a journey of self discovery... a journey that leads to a deeper understanding not only of our minds but also of our concept of reality.

dry water basin with bamboo charcoal (for purity)

Zen and the empty mind: a mind that is awake but fixed nowhere... empty your thinking of the past and the future and be IN THE MOMENT.

Old Japanese books, the covers are worn and torn.

No matter what medium you choose -- photography, haiku, poetry, dance, music, painting, collage, assemblage, acting -- you will, by virtue of being in the moment, improve the quality of your art. You will be able to see more, to feel more, and to be more.

Container with sumi brushes and bamboo charcoal

Zen wants us to pay full attention to the smallest details in life-- to be mindful of everything we do. Zen is about enjoying the simple things.

Large flat round pottery with a LOT of small round beach rocks

With its strong belief in self expression, Zen is by its very nature a catalyst for creative thought. Its spiritual freedom allows us to discover our creative powers and hidden potential.

hand made scrolls, part of a larger assemblage

"I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any part of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surfaces of the water." --- D. H. Lawrence

Large round beach rocks in stone basin

Be alive,
be here--- and know
the beat of your heart.

small stone doll's head on rock

What really matters is that Zen deals with the present. It teaches us that life is too precious to waste. Zen is about the joy of living right now-- to live for each moment.

round hand carved stone

A Mind Poet
Stays in the house.
The house is empty
And it has no walls...

The poem
Is seen from all sides,
At once.
--Gary Snyder

Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if the axis
on which the earth revolves --
slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future.
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.
--Thich Nhat Hanh


Shayna said...

Sheer beauty & inspiration - thank you!

india flint said...


the present is called the present
it is a gift, not to be taken lightly

ArtPropelled said...

Slowly taking in the details of each photo is a zen moment. Simply beautiful, Donna.

deborah from collagewhirl said...

Another thoughtful post with a welcome reminder to stay present. I agree with iNd!@nA, it is definitely a gift.

Thanks for coming by and commenting-- let's hope we both get that great email :-)

Leslie Avon Miller said...

The more I live the more precious it becomes - this one sweet life. Reading your post and seeing your images was like a good cup of hot tea - something to savor. Thank you Donna.

zendotstudio said...

As always the snippets of your garden, home and treasures are inspiringly tranquil! Love the Thich Nhat Hanh quote.

Cynthia Schelzig said...

What a nice way to start my day. Thanks for the inspiration I always receive from your posts. Have a good week!

karin ceelen said...

Reading your posts is always a blessing for the soul.
Thank you Donna, sometimes you need just something like this beautiful post.

Sue said...

Donna, very inspiring words, photos and artwork - a real master-post! I'll come back to it if I feel blocked or overloaded.
Years ago, I've been on a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in France, in Plum Village, and that was such a great experience. Your post and your blog remind me of those wonderful weeks.

Did you actually live in Japan? You seem to have such a deep and vibrant relation to its Zen culture.
And thank you for joining my blog...

Suzanne said...

Well that's focused my mind on this beautiful Monday morning :) I love the scrolls.

Jennifer said...

Thank you for such a lovely, peaceful and inspiring post.

Chris Gray said...

..another beautiful, thought-provoking and restful posting Donna.

It'll make a difference to everyone that reads it.

x Chris

Judy Shreve said...

My heart always smiles when I see a new post from you in my Google Reader - but I always wait until I have enough time to savor reading it.
Your posts are always thought provoking, uplifting and calming at the same time.
Thanks for the gentle reminder of the importance of being fully present in each moment.

Noela Mills said...

A wonderful reminder for me to 'be in the moment' - thank you Donna xoxoxo

Julie Shackson said...

Such beauty in these words, and I feel really calm now; ready to be present in my day. Thank you.

ELFI said...

quel plaisir de parcourir ces pages.. le kimono du billet précédent me plait aussi énormément!

Susanne Anna Maria said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences of ZEN.
From time to time I get tired of the internet and blogging. Seeing a blog like yours makes me happy to "be back again"
Love and Light from Germany

Yvette said...

I missed the most beautiful posts...I red them in zen mood...great.

Anna Mavromatis said...

Love the images, love the quotes, love the soothing rhythm of your thoughts and postings.
As always... thank you!

Jo Murray said...

"only this moment is life"... love the quotes and the images.

lynda Howells said...

A beutiful entry in this blogxxxthank youx lynda

Valerianna said...

Wonderful, mindful journey -thanks!

Ginny Huber said...

beautiful blog post...lovely thgouts and images..and thanks to you for commenting on my blog.

Gaby Bee said...

Thank you for this lovely, thoughtful, inspiring post, Donna! Beautiful images and wonderful always! I have loved every minute of the time spent looking through all your pictures.

Hope your day is going great!

Barry said...

D-Thanks for returning to and reposting on Zen from time to time. By repeating bit you may encourage more of us to slow down and immerse ourselves in the details and precious moments of life each day a little more. Go well. B

annell4 said...

Beautiful post!

sukipoet said...

gorgeous photos of gorgeous items. to be in the moment, sometimes so hard to remember this. but for me when i paint, write, walk in nature these activities place me in the present. there is no other.

bamboo charcoal!!! I love it. I want some. I wonder if you made your own?

thanks for your quiet beauty and intelligence and your Zen eye.

Jo Reimer said...

Such a lovely post, Donna. In this busy world it's often difficult to slow down and see the beauty that fills this earth.

Caterina Giglio said...

visiting your place is always such a meditative inspiration break... thank you for this...

Anonymous said...

I sooooo needed to read this

right now.



Seth said...

What a stunning post that completely brought me to being in the moment. I love your choice of images (those scrolls are special) and the accompanying words.

nancy neva gagliano said...

inhaling this piece is the breath that begins my day~
a meditation from you, life teaching artist.

trading my coffee for tea

Deborah said...

A nice reminder of what I know to be true but so often forget.

Lynn said...

Reading this, I'm suddenly made aware of the knot I've been carrying around in my stomach the past few days.

Thank you for a beautiful reminder to be open and aware and connected - not to brood over things beyond our control. It takes too much energy away from the things we can affect.

I'm going to copy the D.H. Lawrence quote. It's gorgeous.

CERULEAN said...

Thank you for this beautiful post!

trump said...

Thanks very much for the comments left on my blog Amish Stories. And please be safe out there with Irene coming into our area. Richard from Amish Stories.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

A wonderful message, one that I needed to hear tonight. Thank you Donna!
That DH Lawrence quote...perfect.


beautiful post ♥

Ruth Armitage said...

Congratulations on a goal achieved :)

Velma Bolyard said...

being present, practicing that, it's what make for deep joy.

rivergardenstudio said...

To take in every moment slowly. You have created a beautiful post here, and I have taken it in slowly. Thank you. roxanne

Fiona Dempster said...

Donna - I finally got to stop by and am so glad I stopped. I read, I thought about and appreciated - how can we ever improve on or better those moments when we are truly present? Thanks and go well

~Babs said...

Being in the present truly is the best present we give to ourselves.
I love all the pebbles, stones and rocks throughout your blog.

Teri said...

I was so inspired by these photos that I gathered up all my round stones from here and there and placed them all in a nice bowl outside. Thanks for the inspiration.