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Jul 12
Saturday
Scene and Heard
Place Your Thoughts Here

Place Your Thoughts HereShambhala Times is pleased to share another new “Summer Read”: Steven Saitzyk’s new book, “Place Your Thoughts Here”. Read below to find out why he wrote this book.

article by Steven Saitzyk

It is said that most authors end up writing the book they would like to read. That is true here. For several decades I waited for someone to write this book so I could read it. While books have been written on the subject of meditation, art-viewing, or art-making, none combine them.

In 1974, I first glimpsed that it was possible to integrate art viewing and making with meditation. I met and began to study with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who was a Tibetan meditation master, teacher, and artist. He had studied art at Cambridge University, and when he came to the United States, Trungpa Rinpoche taught Buddhism to many students and established Naropa University and Shambhala. He truly was one of the great Buddhist teachers of our time.

The main gift Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche offered was that he engaged the creative process from the inside out, whereas I was trying to work from the outside in. I was attempting to get to the experience of art, art-making, and the workings of the creative mind through information and ideas. Through him, I realized that my approach was more conceptual than real. In essence, Trungpa Rinpoche’s approach was to see things as they are rather than merely thinking or imagining how they are. He taught us to directly experience art, art-making, and the nature of our minds.

Dont Read ThisSeveral decades later, after the passing of Trungpa Rinpoche and after developing my eclectic background of science, art, meditation, Buddhist philosophy and psychology, and teaching, I gave up my search for a book that doesn’t exist and finally wrote this one. In doing so, I have felt the precious weight of what I have learned from my teachers and various artists I have worked with over the years, especially Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Taizen Maezumi Roshi, Ed Moses, and Sam Francis. If I have learned anything and can manage to pass it on, I should follow their example and do so.

Even the most skilled teachers know that you don’t really learn a subject until you have to teach it. Knowing a subject is easier than explaining it so others understand it. I have taught this material for a long time, led many field trips and salons, but articulating this subject in writing has been the most engaging and deepening means of learning.

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For your copy of the book, click here.

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