Cultivating mindful presence: the artist’s task.

Featured Image -- 1685It is impossible not to love the words and insightful wisdom of American poet, Mary Oliver. I have just read a lovely essay by her on Vox Populi and feel compelled to share it.

In my own experience, cultivating a mindful presence is so critical to being able to fully and freely access my own creativity, and I’ve made it an essential part of my Buddhist mindfulness practice. A task to be done. A commitment. A promise to myself.

It is a promise I try to keep–though imperfectly, since that’s the way of things for me–because I have found when I manage to live completely submerged in the mindful moment, wholly present, that is when I find deepest resonance with Spirit, am open to the eternity of consciousness.

When I remember to, I can allow myself to be in that spaciousness, to just be, open to what arises and falls. Sometimes a flood of in-sight-full images clear my clouded vision. Sometimes a torrent of words comes streaming through my mind and I cannot write quickly enough.

And it is good.

And now, the essay reblogged from Vox Populi:

Mary Oliver: The Artist’s Task

It is a silver morning like any other. I am at my desk. Then the phone rings, or someone raps at the door. I am deep in the machinery of my wits. Reluctantly I rise, I answer the phone or I open the door. And the thought which I had in hand, or almost in hand, is gone. Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions. It needs the whole sky to fly in, and no eye watching until it comes to that certainty which it aspires to, but does not necessarily have at once. Privacy, then. A place apart — to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.

But just as often, if not more often, the interruption comes not from another but from the self itself, or some other self within the self, that whistles and pounds upon the door panels and tosses itself, splashing, into the pond of meditation. And what does it have to say? That you must phone the dentist, that you are out of mustard, that your uncle Stanley’s birthday is two weeks hence. You react, of course. Then you return to your work, only to find that the imps of idea have fled back into the mist.  Continue reading