Sumi e abstract painting “Sound of Breezes”. And what is mind and how is it recognized?
What is Mind?
“And what is mind
And how is it recognized?
It is clearly drawn in sumi ink, the sound of
breezes drifting through pine.”
-Ikkyū Sōjun 1875S
This Sumi e abstract painting “Sound of Breezes” and the poem “What Is Mind” are a koan. They make you stop and feel your way through them. How can the poem or a painting be like that? You have to puzzle on this.
A Zen Teaching on What is Time
To understand Mind, you must understand about Time. This is a basic concept of Zen teaching.
I have been visiting with my Zen Sensei, Paul Quintero. I hear him say, “There is no such thing as the linear time we try to believe in our rational, mental, egoic mind. There is only this One Moment. Then there is another Moment. Then there is another moment. Promises of tomorrow and the future are empty promises.” The following Kusen is from Sensei Paul.
To understand mind, you must understand Time
My Sumi e abstract painting “Sound of Breezes” and the poem point you to this insight. You must first consider what is Time. This is Sensei Paul’s teaching:
Time is the moment we are living just now. This immediate, present moment, which will not last at all. It just exists and stops existing in an instant.
Time does not have that duration we believe it has. Time does not flow in a continuum. Time is just a moment, then another moment, and then another moment. When we try to prolong time, we are not being sincere with others. So we must live and act only in the moment we are living.
Anything other thing is just a dream in your night’s sleep. (That is an expression in Zen.) It is creating more delusion in your mind, creating more aspirations in you mind, creating more future in your future, and this is not Zen mind. Zen mind is being present in this specific moment without wasting it, without letting it go, living it completely, because each moment is a complete moment…
Zen is about mind and Zen is about Now Time.
So what is mind? It can be spaciousness allowing the infinite truths to flow in, or it can be a cluttered garage of outdated, secondhand and broken thoughts, or unfulfilled thoughts, or worries and anxieties about the future. You can choose how your mind will be and find practices to help you attain to that choice of mind. You have the choice. Finally, you must take action and follow that choice.
One of my recent blog posts, and in fact many of them, refer to being present in this moment, or in this Naked Now. More on that later.
See my store site where I’ve added Sumi Sculptures and Private Lessons
marilynwellsartstudio.com – has now added Sumi sculptures and both private one on one lessons live or on Zoom. Sumi e supplies being added soon. Let me know what you are interested in to see if it’s available soon.
I think its awesome you are now offering lessons
I’m happy to hear you say that! I know I’ll see you in one soon too. 🙂
Lots to think about here. Very difficult concept, but I do remind myself often that it’s vital to stay in the moment.
I like the painting a lot.
Thank you so much, Elaine, for delving into the concept and enjoying the painting as well! It does take some deep work, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind we come into when we do so.
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