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Cultivating: Don't Know Mind

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One of the pervasive myths about art is that the artist knows what a drawing will look like before they sit down to draw it.

If you’re lucky, you’ve had the occasional piece of art come out exactly how you expected it to, but that’s not how this works. Yet still, we’re often unsatisfied by our lack of control over the process. The fear that arises from our lack of control can be a major hindrance to the process, so I think it’s important that we always approach the art process with a radical dose of honesty. As we create a piece of art, we must maintain what’s called the “beginner’s mind” or sometimes called the “don’t know mind”. A mental stance where we openly embrace our lack of control and understanding.

To hold ourselves to the standard of the master, we close the doors of possibility and compress our options in a desperate attempt to maintain control. The master only knows the TRUE option, the BEST option. To assume we have that, is to shut out creativity and usually smash ourselves in the foot on the way out.

We want to know but we don’t know. Accepting the tension between those two truths allows us to release our obligation to create something important and get back to the essential work of creating something honest.

When you are drawing, I recommend that you consider the following idea:

“Drawing is enough.”