2. Where do great ideas come from?
Often out of “nowhere”
● In the shower
● While exercising
● While relaxing
Archimedes - Eureka!
3. Where do great ideas come from?
But also from intense, focused activity
● Related to the desired objective
● Or even unrelated
4. Flow - Zone - Zen
“Flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of
operation in which a person performing an activity is fully
immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement,
and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence,
flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one
5. Components of Flow
● Intense and focused concentration on the present
● Merging of action and awareness
● A loss of reflective self-consciousness
6. Components of Flow
● A sense of personal control or agency over the situation
● A distortion of temporal experience, one's subjective
experience of time is altered
● Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding
8. Zen practice is highly relevant
● Being intensely aware, focused, but more importantly
● No subject/object separation - “I/Me” is removed.
How to build that type of awareness and focus?
Meditation and awareness practices - the Zen Arts
9. My Meetup Intro
"Randy is a Business Analyst at work and a Zen Chaplain in
his spare time. In other words, he goes back and forth
between full-blown analytical mode and "letting go of
10. My Analytical Bio
● BS in Physics, MBA (Quant. Analysis)
● Naval Officer (Nuclear Engineer)
● Engineer in defense industry
● IT manager, 10 years in Europe
● Career break for 7 years
No visually creative talent! (have you seen my slides?)
11. My Zen Credentials
● Meditator since late 70’s
● Formal Zen training from 2003
● Ordained in Soto Zen tradition
○ Silent Thunder Order
○ Shukke Tokudo 2013
28. Haiku - a Personal Example
Traditional Haiku adhere to 3 key principles:
● 17 Syllables in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 (this is the one most
● A seasonal reference (most don’t know)
● The essence of haiku - the “cutting word” - which often represents the
juxtaposition of two images or ideas.
29. Haiku - a Personal Example
“Spring in a new land
A teacher plants learning
Duncan now blossoms”
Written at the end of the school year
when we had first moved our son to
the USA from Europe. in appreciation
for the huge impact his teacher had
on his transition.
30. They don’t exist for the sole purpose of
creating a work of art, but they are
rather a method for opening the
D. T. Suzuki
31. Zen Arts Extended ...
But really, is the art of Process
“Zen and the Art of…”
Motorcycle Maintenance (Pirsig)
Anything and everything, really, even the mundane...
33. Practice: Direct Experience
The tea ceremony in Zen involves experiencing a cup of tea,
but an important part of the ritual takes place at the end of
the ceremony, when the tea master brings out all of the
implements used for the guests to examine and appreciate.
The tea bowl is presented as a unique work of art, without
peer. It is examined by the guest both visually and tactilely.
34. Practice: Direct Experience
See for yourself if it is possible for you to take up an ordinary
teacup and just experience its physical existence, without
naming, analyzing, judging, or evaluating it. Just feel it. See
it. Through it. Experience it without the mind moving. When
you find your mind moving, acknowledge the thought, let it
go, and come back to the cup in the same way that in zazen,
you let it go and come back to the breath.
35. John Daido Loori - Abbot and founder
of Mountains and Rivers Order
“Single-pointed concentration develops our
intuition. We become more directly aware of
the world. We notice in ways that are not
clearly understood, but are very accurate.”
37. 5 Minute Guided Meditation
The basics of Zazen:
● Body / Breath / Mind
● 5 Minutes Now…
Instructions for home:
38. Practice: Meditation
Set aside some time on a regular basis, daily is great, but
whatever you can manage. Start with short periods, even
just a few minutes. Use one of the many online guided
meditations or instructions.
Don’t just do something - sit there!
46. I created a Github account! Does that make me a developer?
47. The Solution
● Effective and Efficient - it takes less time and is
● I can modify my script as needed.
● It is elegant - I am pleased every time I use it.
48. Practice: Caretaking
Create a simple practice for yourself using some routine
task that you do every day, such as washing the dishes,
sweeping the floor, or making the bed. Make an agreement
with yourself to perform this task with total awareness.
When you wash the dishes, just wash the dishes. As Thich
Nhat Hanh said, “You can wash the dishes in order to have
clean dishes, or you can wash the dishes to wash the
49. Practice: Caretaking
The same is true of any other task that we do almost
mindlessly. Try bringing to it a mindfulness that is not
critical, evaluating, or analytical, but focused simply on being
present in the moment.
50. Milton Glaser - designer of the famous
I ♥ NY logo
“We’re always looking, but we never really
see… it’s the act of attention that allows you
to really grasp something, to become fully
conscious of it.”
Eating utensils for the personal use of Buddhist monks,
Ōryōki also refers to a meditative form of eating using these
utensils that originated in Japan and emphasizes
mindfulness awareness practice by abiding to a strict order
of precise movements.
Along with the robe, the bowl itself is considered a symbol
of transmission from teacher to student.
53. The Problem
● How to serve food to many efficiently.
● Medieval sanitation.
● Support mindful awareness practice in silence.
The first two are very common requirements, but the third
makes all the difference.
55. The Solution
● Effective and Efficient.
● Innovative, then and now.
● Actively in use for seven hundred years.
Most importantly, it not only consistent with awareness
practice, but actively facilitates it!