We all can have a real mystic experience of breaking through the veil of culture’s duality and experience the Mystery of what life is all about, the Interconnectedness of creation, but we must be willing to sacrifice looking through physical eyes and See with our Inner Eye. — Unknown
‘Reflective insights may arise like the lotus from the still lake of meditation, while creative insights come at the raw and tender edge of confrontation at the borderlines where we are most sensitive and exposed — and curiously most alone. To meet you, I must risk myself as I am. The naked human is challenged. It would be safer reflecting alone than confronting you. And even the favorite dictum of reflective psychology — a psychology which has consciousness rather than love as its main goal — ‘Know thyself’’ will be insufficient for a creative psychology. Not ‘Know thyself’ through reflection, but ‘Reveal thyself’, which is the same as the commandment to love, since nowhere are we more revealed than in our loving’.
“Those who say spirituality has nothing to do with politics do not know what spirituality really means.” Jack Kornfield
Art and politics, art and spirituality, art and daily life — two different worlds, right? I think art enhances something so fundamental that it touches every aspect of life. We need beauty, yes, but we also need a mind open to beauty, a mind capable of making beauty. We become more human as we become capable of creating and living in beauty.
Art in the service of politics is propaganda. Art in service of religion can be propaganda too. In service to interior design, it’s decoration. Art can be used, can be distorted. It needs to keep its freedom, in which case it can fly, it can inspire, initiate something new in the imagination.
That’s what we need. We need something that can open doors in our mind, that can birth something inspiring, something free ranging and vigorous. Forcing a sensitive talent into servitude to money or a belief system turns it into bedraggled donkey pulling an overcharged wagon. It’s a crime.
Art is inspired by love of the world in some aspect, something the artist has a special relation with. Allowed freedom to develop, that impulse will deepen. It will discover and reveal aspects no one else has been able to show. The world needs art, not just for beauty, but in order to reveal the world. The mind of the artist penetrates things we would pass over without noticing in our daily fog.
It’s a spiritual exercise, looking at the world. The artist is showing what her eyes can see. People of depth have a duty to express the connections they see. We humans are still trying to understand our lives. We’re still trying to see the world and appreciate it. We’re not quite awake.
Art is waking up to life. Art is waking up to love. We can’t do without it.
A society that suppresses artistic expression, like Nazi Germany, like the Soviets, is doomed. They are moribund. Human cultures need a lively, vibrant and free artistic life.
Children need to be making art from the beginning, and it would be best if they didn’t stop at adolescence. Adults need art. They need to understand how it is made and what roles it has played through the ages.
When I say “art,” I mean all arts, not just visual art.
Humans can no more do without art than they can do without love. The soul shrivels without it. Artists are learning to see with the inner eye. The world looks different when seen that way. Its marvelous aspect is revealed. The magic of creation comes to the fore. When that starts to happen it’s possible that the budding artist feels intimidated, tongue tied.
How to do justice to such a perception? That is the life’s work of the artist.
- Anima Fire is my publication