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Art, zen and business

Zen in business

When we hear a story that touches us profoundly, our lives are suffused with meaning. As listeners, we have transmitted to us that which matters. Once we make this connection, once a sense of wonder has come upon us, it does not last long, and we inevitably fall back into our daze of everyday living, but with the difference that a radical shift in understanding may have taken place. Through the multiplicity of words and meanings, some of the underlying structure of things has become revealed to us. The connectedness between the self and the universe has been re-set. We have sensed the world with our nerve endings bare. The story is something that comes from outside. But the meaning is something that emerges from within. When a story reaches our hearts with deep meaning, it takes hold of us. Once it does so, we can let it go, and yet it remains with us. We do not weary of this experience. Why should we? Once we have had one story, we are already hungry for another. We want more, in case it too can transmit the magic of connectedness between the self and the universe.

Zen in archery

In the case of archery, the hitter and the hit are no longer two opposing objects, but are one reality. The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull's-eye which confronts him. This state of unconsciousness is realized only when, completely empty and rid of the self, he becomes one with the perfecting of his technical skill, though there is in it something of a quite different order which cannot be attained by any progressive study of art.
                 Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery (1954)

Zen in motorcycle maintenance

In the light of all this, let's have a look at what is going on in Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. What is going on is a motorcycle trip and a spiritual journey. In a sense, the motorcycle trip includes the spiritual journey, for the trip provides the narrator with the opportunity to review and extend Phaedrus' philosophical and psychological searchings. In a deeper sense, the spiritual journey includes the motorcycle trip, for the real cycle of the trip, as the narrator tells, is the self. (Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, page 293).
    Ronald DiSanto, Thomas Steele, Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert Pirsig.

Zen in seeing

SEEING/DRAWING is a way of contemplation by which all things are made new, by which the world is freshly experienced at each moment. It is the opposite of looking at things from the outside, taking them for granted. What you have not drawn, you have never really seen. Once you start drawing an ordinary thing, a fly, a flower, a face realize how extraordinary it is - a sheer miracle.
    Frederick Franck, The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as meditation, Vintage, 1978

Zen and meditation

The man who has meditated on himself for a certain length of time comes back to life sensing the position he can occupy. Then he can act effectively.
                 Henri Matisse: Matisse: the artist speaks, San Francisco, Collins, 1996.

Zen in the novel:


Zen in poetry


The Painter by Stephen Denning

The Painter

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Sonnets by Stephen Denning

Sonnets 2000

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