Image for post
Image for post
Painting by Muramasa Kudo

“I have learned that the point of life’s walk is not where or how far I move my feet but how I am moved in my heart.”
Anasazi Foundation — The Seven Paths: Changing One’s Way of Walking in the World

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Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment. — Jon Kabat-Zinn

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What is envy?
- No acceptance of good in the other.
If we accept good, it becomes inspiration.
What is anger?
- No acceptance of what is beyond our control.
If we accept, it becomes tolerance.
What is hate?
- Non-acceptance of people as they are
If we accept unconditionally, it becomes love.
— A Shaman Speaks

Art is a means to wake up to the inner or outer world. We live with a very narrow focus, really. Real things are happening just outside our consciousness and we try to go forward as if they didn’t exist. Meditation is a way to let things into your awareness that you ignored or excluded. The more those things threaten your sense of yourself, the more defenses you build against them. Allowing them to flow through you softens you while giving you a more stable center.

A good piece of art represents an element of reality well enough to be registered by anyone who encounters it, if they are paying attention. Artists are excavators and archeologists of reality, if they’re good. They explore and come back to relate what they found. If what they found helps them and other people live more fully, they have fulfilled their mission. Artists just want to be more alive.

Being recognized and making money is secondary at best. Technique is important only insofar as it helps the artist accomplish her mission.

That presents a conflict, of course, because we all have to eat. Things get confused around social status and respect. Some people can give that up without regret, but it’s hard to give up eating. I’ve never been able to manage it.

We artists may not think of it, but by practicing art we are becoming more human, more aware. Yes, some artists get caught up in petty competition and conflict because artists are still subject to jealousy and comparison, they still have egos.

Staying with the subject of the art-making mind, though, we are dealing with attention to the inner or outer what-is and how we reformulate it into a communicable form. That’s a respectable discipline, it goes without saying, but I’m interested in expanded consciousness and its effects on the human heart. That’s a kind of meditation. It’s spiritual work. Its implications reach beyond art.

I believe that’s how we contribute to the human project. Since humans are dangerous in their blindness because they are severed from their own hearts, only an awareness that wakes up our sense of connection to everything will save us. Art is a good way to approach developing a heartfelt vision of life.

I recommend it.

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