Live Engage Practice

I’ve been reading the book “The Creative Act” by Rick Rubin for the last year or so. My method of reading the book has been rather unmethodical. Every couple of days/weeks when I feel like it, I pick up the book and continue reading where i last left off. Sometimes when I come across a strong thought (which happens more often than not in this book), I keep that thought in my mind and try to put it into action over time.

The following excerpt from the book has had a huge impact on me. I think about it very often and it reminds me of other quotes and sayings that I keep close to myself (and have collected mentally over the years)

Living life as an artist is a practice. You are either engaging in the practice or you’re not.

It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it It’s like saying, “I’m not good at beting a monk.” You are either living as a monk or you’re not.

We tend to think of the artist’s work as the output.

The real work of the artist is a way of being in the world.

There is another quote from the Psychologist Alfred Adler that I heard back in 2015 and It has impacted the way I act on this very much. The quote goes as follows

“It is easier to fight for ones principles than to live up to them.”.

Such a strong statement. We all have principles, and there are principles that we very often are very strict about in “words” and stricter when we see other people going against it. But, when it comes to us living by those principles, we very easily defy them and create loopholes for our own convenience. The way this has impacted my is as follows – In most cases before acting and saying things to people, I think if they are pragmatic or rather principle based. If they are principle based, I tend to not speak them as often as I would in past. These are my principles and as long as someone else is not crossing boundaries, I would allow them to live by theirs and I’d “try” to live by mine. I don’t want to spend my time “fighting” for my principles. Atleast, I am not here to spread it, I think.

There is one more quote along similar lines as Rick Rubin. It’s from “The Tibetian book of living and dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche. I unfortunately don’t recall the exact words from the book, and don’t have a copy to get it from. But, the feeling of the words remain with me –

You cannot meditate for some time and then be not meditating. That is not how meditation works. Meditation is a way of life.

So what?

Speaking for myself, I tend to think a lot about my principles and topics that I am interested in. And based on that, I try to live my life focusing on those topics, learning about them, acting as I belong to learn about those topics and create something with them. Its not important if the creation changes the world. Its not important if the creation is well known in the world. The only thing that is important is that it changes me. And, it changes me for good. I hope.