You Simply Must Do Things

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~ Ray Bradbury … 

There are plenty of times in my life where I can relate to what Ray is talking about, times when I over-analyze and over-think things. Perhaps this is because I am a highly logical person and therefore tend to place a lot of emphasis on rational thought and logical reasoning, which all in all is a good thing as it enables me to analyze things and situations carefully and come up with intelligent solutions. However, many times this keeps me locked within the confines of my logical reasoning and prevents me from being creative, from feeling things on a deeper level and allowing my emotions and intuitions to influence my thoughts.

When we look at things through a perspective that is self-centered, such as based on our thoughts, our view of those things is fundamentally flawed. Instead of seeing those things as they are, we see a distorted image of them that is changed by our personalities and our egos, and we impose our will and desires upon those things by acting in ways that are not necessarily authentic to our souls. And what Ray is suggesting here is simply what Jesus of Nazareth prayed at the Mount of Olives, “…thy will be done.” This perfectly expresses the act of letting go of the need to think things through. It allows us to see what others can do and simply respond to those things without trying to make it a reflection of ourselves.

Letting go of our desire to always think logically allows things, people, and situations to connect with us and influence us, rather than us trying to exert our influence over them through our thoughts. It makes the world around us authentic and unique, instead of a reflection of ourselves and our beliefs. And that is the key to true creativity: it does not come from ourselves; it comes from searching outside of ourselves. And if we truly, madly, and deeply desire to be creative, then perhaps all that is required is that we “don’t think” about doing things… and just do them.

Empty your mind to create an environment that fosters creativity.

Questions to consider:

What does it mean to you if someone tells you “don’t think!?”

Why do we tend to value so much the logical, rational parts of our minds and the results of using them?

Why do Zen teachers so often teach that we should try to empty our minds?

For further thought:

“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

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