A few days back, I wrote about boredom and creativity. Sitting and tapping away at the keyboard of my IPad, I realise that it does not offer me the flexibility of my desktop. Och! I cannnot dress up the post as I want to. Moreover, I am sleepy in the middle of the afternoon. I had two appointments, and they got cancelled at the last moment, which upset my rhythm, and knocked some of the creative juices out of me. So, forgive me if I say, “Och! I am feeling shrivelled..”
You may wonder what this has to do with Zen, Osho and creativity. Ostensibly, nothing. (I will update this post when I get home)
However, there is a link that I am cunningly about to weave into the post.
When I heard that tape about creativity, the late Osho spoke about a Japanese Master carpenter, who was very much into the tradition of Zen. He had to make a table out of a tree. For a few months, he did nothing. Or, you can say that he did nothing obviously. He would go into the woods, and touch the trees and caress them. Over time, he started to focus his attention on one tree. He caressed it, felt its texture, it’s smell. He spoke to the tree and felt it’s spirit. A few months later, he made the table, and it was magnificent. When someone complimented him on the table, he merely said, ‘it is nothing. the tree fashioned the table itself. I was merely the conduit.”
(At the bottom of this post, is a marvellous melody called “Chopping Wood” composed by the Osho Musicians)
It is similar to clicking a shutter, for me, or writing. There are times when I produce photographs that are passable, and there are many times when I produce photographs that are the most God-awful tosh.
There are times when I process pictures like a machine gun, and the results resemble mayhem. There are other times when I gape at the photograph on the screen for sometime, and then I know what to do.
When I shoot those passable pictures, I realise that these are the times when my mind is quiet. There is no distraction. The phone’s beguiling screen falls silent, and the Siren’s of the mobile phone ring tone fall on deaf ears. It is only when I go into that state of almost meditative calm that I produce pictures that are okay.
When I spoke of pushing the boundary, and pushing back the edge of boredom, I find that I am better able to do it, when the push resembles an evolution, and not a bloody massacre.
Creativity happens when the mind is calm, when you are not seeking gimmicks. Sometimes, the photograph fashions itself. No struggle. No stamping and frothing at the mouth. you need only to look at the works of photographers like Ansel Adams, Minor White and, more recently, William Neill to realise this.
It just happens.