A friend lent me a book recently – The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I’m not entirely sure where I stand with this fellow. He has some interesting things to say but I don’t like the way he writes (too mystical) and I’m uncomfortable with the way he’s set himself up as a kind of spiritual teacher. His ideas are drawn from many different religions and philosophies including Zen Buddhism, Sufism, Hinduism and the Bible. He talks a lot about mindfulness which I have a great interest in but there are other writers I prefer on this topic; Jon Kabat-Zinn and Russ Harris for example.
I thought I would share this excerpt about creativity from Tolle’s book which relates back to my posts Art practice as meditation? (May) and Doing non-doing (June).
‘The mind is essentially a survival machine. Attack and defense against other minds, gathering, storing, and analysing information – this is what it is good at, but it is not at all creative. All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. The mind then gives form to the creative impulse or insight. Even the great scientists have reported that their creative breakthroughs came at a time of mental quietude. The surprising result of a nation-wide inquiry among America’s most eminent mathematicians, including Einstein, to find out their working methods, was that thinking “plays only a subordinate part in the brief, decisive phase of the creative act itself.” So I would say that the simple reason why the majority of scientists are not creative is not because they don’t know how to think but because they don’t know how to stop thinking!’
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle