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Posts Tagged ‘Shunryu Suzuki’

GC Myers- Into New Territory smIf your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.

Shunryu Suzuki

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I was looking for some words to go with this new painting, Into New Territory, that is part of my show now hanging at the West End Gallery.  I came across this quote from the late Zen monk and teacher Shunryu Suzuki that expressed very much what I was seeing in this painting.

I see this painting as being about moving out from that which you know, examining the possibilities that open up to you when you dare to move beyond your comfort zone.

When I read Suzuki’s words, I began thinking about my own experience as a painter.  In the beginning when everything was new and my knowledge consisted of much less than it does today, every day was filled with new discoveries that opened up wider and wider vistas of possibility.  There seemed to be no boundary, no limit to where it might take me.

But as one gains more knowledge and becomes more “expert,” one begins to set limits on their possibility.  They learn hard lessons from failures and often even stop looking in that direction as a future avenue of creativity.  Their focus becomes narrower and narrower.  The possibilities that seemed endless as a beginner seem much more limited and defined.  The “what is” is greater but the “what might be” seems to be fading into the mist.

The trick is in retaining some of that  beginner’s exuberance and its naive openness to all possibility, and to find a way to incorporate the gained knowledge that came to you along the way.  In the context of this painting, it means straying out into the open and daring to look in all directions.  It means setting aside all fear of failure and the encumbrances of the “what is” to move toward an endless horizon.

It’s so simple a thought and so difficult to realize.  But one must try and try and try.

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