Ensō (円相) is a Japanese word meaning “circle” and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an “expression of the moment” it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.
In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of spiritual practice.
And from my tradition:
Be still and know God. In the stillness, one creates the space that allows “God” to live through us.
I have said it before, but I am humbled by how ones creation, encodes within it the creator’s current understanding and connection to their divinity. Our whole lives vibrate with our current ability to gain access to this presence of love.
When “sinners” are being honest with themselves from within their position of imperfection, I would much rather be in their presence than with “saints” who are doing all the “right” things for all the “wrong” reasons. Their rightness rings hollow and deeds ultimately circle the drain of stagnation and destruction because they are not true.
I suspect this is what the prodigal’s son parable in the Christian tradition was getting on about. It was about having the courage to create the ensō of ones life by living each day as if it were new, over and over. This means sometimes getting it “wrong”, but having the courage to admit it, which then makes room for eventually getting it “right”. It is being in motion moment to moment that allows each creator and their creation to be unique and new again.
Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find in
The windmills of your mind.