Washing Silk in the Lotus Pond by Hua San-ch'uan from his book Richly Adorned & Quietly Dressed. This beautiful 102-page, hardcover book features both the finished masterpieces and detailed closeups in a coffee table quality format. Text in Chinese and English.
Originally Published: July 14, 2021
How To Receive Inspiration Rather than Blocking It
I’ve noticed an unusual habit among some of the people that I know that study the arts. I call it inspiration blocking. What happens is when they encounter someone or something that could be a potential source of inspiration they immediately look for a way to disqualify themselves from receiving the inspiration.
For example, someone may see a beautiful painting on the wall and instead of focusing on how much they love the painting and the lovely details from which they may gain inspiration, they immediately offer a statement like, “Well, I’m not an artist but I like to look at beautiful paintings.” This statement may seem harmless enough, mostly because we have heard it or versions of it so often. Maybe we personally have said something like this.
Another version of the inspiration block is to find something different about an admired artist’s background that immediately elevates them above ourselves and somehow disqualifies us as a recipient of inspiration. It sounds a bit like, “Well Ning Yeh comes from an artistic family tradition that dates back 4 generations, I wish I had that kind of family history.”
These tendencies are mental habits that serve to block you from potential inspiration. Inspiration is a stream of positive energy that can flow to any person at any time. All you need to do is to choose thoughts that tune you into the frequency of this stream. When you see something that could be a source of inspiration and then offer up disqualifying statements or thoughts like the ones above you tune your frequency away from the stream and block the inspiration from occurring.
The Universe can direct toward you a limitless streaming of inspiration. Not just the kind of general inspiration that makes you feel good but the type of inspiration that encourages you to take specific action at the right time and under the right circumstance to make your dreams come true. All you need to do is pay attention to the way that you think and be guided by your emotions. Good feeling thoughts tune you into the inspiration streams. Bad feeling thoughts block the stream. The absence of thought also opens you up to receiving inspiration.
When you see something inspiring, look for connections between what you are seeing and your own situation to make the inspiration more personal. If a disqualifying or blocking thought pops up, just acknowledge, release it and turn your focus in a neutral way back to the source of your inspiration
Practice saying to yourself affirmations using the phrase “I am.” Start with adjectives like “I am inspired,” or “I am artistic.” Also try nouns which carry more weight and more permanence like “I am an artist.” Once you feel comfortable saying these things to yourself, then say them out loud. Finally you can move on to saying them to other people. For fun, the next time you meet a stranger and they ask you “What do you do?” respond with “I am an artist.” Also trying writing these statements. There is something special about writing statements of affirmation. The deliberate focus that it takes to write a phrase is exactly the type of focus that is the most powerful. Can you see why so many master artists also practice calligraphy?
Spend 15-20 minutes once or twice a day in meditation, listening or prayer, or doing a meditative activity like walking in nature or painting simple brush strokes.
Don’t be surprised or discouraged if these new habits take a little time to develop. There is momentum to habits of thinking. But it is an dependable law of the universe that negative momentum can be slowed and then you can slowly start to create positive momentum. Eventually the positive momentum can pick up speed and that is when you will see physical manifestations of your desires.
When it comes to Chinese Brush Painting you can always fall back on the realization that OAS is an extended family with a rich 500 year tradition in Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy. By the very fact that you are receiving this email, you are part of the extended family and part of the legacy. Use it as a source of strength if it helps you!