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Zen in Japanese means meditation. The meaning of meditation is reaching a stage of self-awareness that is not dependent on outer noise, thus allowing the mind to expand to its natural domain which is to be in harmony with your physical body, other minds and the environment. This enables the physical body to relax and enrich the mind by quieting the interference waves.


Zen calls for simplicity, the simpler and less complex the environment the more natural the process of detachment will be. A Zen master would need a cushion and a bowl for living. Wherever he will be he can sit on his cushion and be connected.


The contra-Zen domain is the western society hub on almost everything, the more colors the more shapes, the more money you invest in your house; the more it’s considered elite. The Victorian era is a great example of contra-Zen phenomenon. Politics, wars, stock exchanges are other extreme forms of contra-Zen.


The Japanese temples in Kyoto, icebergs in Norway, Pyramids, are Zen entities, there is nothing to add there, every line, form and shape is in the right place.


From this stems the phrase less is more. Less effort is needed for a natural process; if something is aligned with the human nature it will be easily formed and produced. The Japanese build their temples in clean straight lines with minimal if any furniture. The art of creating Zen objects has no national or language borders. It is an international common form and code that derives from human physical function and mental projection.


Minimalism in its true nature is Zen art, nothing too complicated. The white canvas has its limits. So does the capability of the viewer to encompass the artist’s meaning. As Zen meditation is not for external display so Zen art should be created for self-expression and meditative spirit. It is very hard to encounter a true Zen  piece of art but if the viewer meets a Zen piece of art it can elevate the soul and bring more harmony to the domain in which it is exhibited.


Have magic in your life

Ted Barr


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