Exploring the Japanese Technique of 'Mushin' for Greater Inspiration and Productivity. Unlocking the Creative Mind

Exploring the Japanese Technique of 'Mushin' for Greater Inspiration and Productivity. Unlocking the Creative Mind

Being creative is like opening a fridge when you're hungry. Often we have all the ingredients, all the techniques but the problem is not with all the stuff we have, it's with the noise around us. Over thinking and perfection are traps, but also away out, a way to avoid.

The pressure, and anxiety to create something ground breaking or anything at all is stressful when forced. To be honest, sometimes you just think how the hell do I come up with anything, anything at all?  

Personally, I have always struggled to find a way to turn my creativity on, and I have not found a reliable method yet. However, I have noticed that I tend to feel most creative late at night, usually between 10-12pm. So, I often wait until this time, jot down my ideas on paper or in my memory, and then go to bed. This way, I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to bring my ideas to life.

I've also discovered a method that brings me closer to a meditative state. In the 16th century, Japanese artists and craftsmen used a technique called "mushin." This term means "no mind" or "empty mind," and it involves achieving mental clarity and focus by clearing the mind of all distractions and preconceptions.

For creativity, "mushin" can be seen as a way of removing mental barriers and allowing ideas to arise naturally and spontaneously. Practitioners of "mushin" can tap into their intuition and creativity, accessing a deeper level of insight and inspiration.

"Mushin" is closely associated with martial arts, especially swordsmanship, where it was used to achieve heightened awareness and focus during combat. To achieve "mushin," practitioners would typically engage in meditative practices such as deep breathing or visualization, and focus their attention on the task at hand. With practice, it is possible to achieve mental clarity and focus that can increase creativity and productivity, and promote a sense of calm and balance in daily life.

While late at night may not work for everyone, forcing yourself to meditate may not work either. However, you can take note of when you feel relaxed and calm, such as when waking up dazed and pre-coffee, or during a trance in the car stuck in traffic, or even during a moment like taking a shower in the dark to help the mind slow down. Using these moments to let the mind wander can help with creativity, as it allows the mind to dream and find ways to bring those dreams to life.

Mushin in essence is clearing your mind and setting it free. Forget about the present, let the end goal and worry go and focus on the journey. Judgement is what will stop you, create for you even if what you make is rubbish. My paintings look like a 5 year old who just picked up a brush, but I love them, I am proud of them because I enjoy it and it makes me happy to paint. My pictures have a story that will last forever and no one can take that away from you. 

Good things take time and practice. The only way to get a strike, is to bowl until you get one. So keep bowling, what do you have to lose?

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