Putting Words To The Mystery

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Nitish Nadan, My Modern Met

“As we wake up to our ecological crisis, we sense the imbalance that lies at the root of our culture, the result of our loss of contact with the sacredness of the earth that is the cornerstone of all indigenous cultures. But few have dared to penetrate to the very foundation of this cultural split and to see how it has evolved over the centuries, to comprehend the real depths of the imbalance that now threatens our whole planet.”

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul

“Beauty feeds the soul, wakens it, and brings it to life as nothing else can. Beauty is a deep-seated reaction to some meaningful and stunning presentation of life. It stops you and gives you an instant promise of pleasure. But if you have no soul, you won’t even see the beautiful in the thick layers of your practicality and in the density of your own ego. All your senses and your full imagination have to be alert when beauty makes its appearance. If you miss it, it is like going without food. — Thomas Moore

“I had imagined that love was only to be found between people, parent and child, loving partners, but I discovered a loving and a landscape of love that belonged to an invisible beloved, a love that permeates everything, even more than the air we breathe. And this love grows and endures, bringing sweetness, intoxication, ecstasy, as well as a deep inner knowing that we belong to love, have come from love and will return to love.” — Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Is beauty only in the eye of the beholder? Is meaning and the life of the soul expressed only by poets and their transcendent art? Is our mission in life kept secret from us by the capricious gods?

It’s not uncommon to be trapped on the surface of life and not even know it.

We all struggle to one degree or another with the culture’s “thick layers of practicality,” as Thomas Moore puts it. Following a wayward path of art and beauty, eternally out of step with the larger world, we artists focus on keeping our eyes open to everything.

Amidst all the distractions of the “world well lost” we can easily miss the essence of existence, which is Love writ large.

A quiet mind can approach this reality more easily than a mind burdened with the needs of the body and the dreams of the ego. If we can drop down below the surface, even for a fleeting moment, we will be astonished by the teeming forces of beauty and the play of ecstatic and purposeful meaning. Life is creating itself moment by moment, intentionally, with joy, with Love.

The whole paradigm is founded on love. All you need to do is slow down and look. That’s the business of an artist, to take notice of the world we inhabit. And not just see, but feel. You can’t help but be awestruck by the unimaginable power, intelligence and delicacy of the forces of creation. Beauty is inherent to it because the foundation is love, and every single thing in creation is part of it, integral to it.

It’s beyond us to understand how all this exists, although that won’t keep us from trying. The problem is, we are not aware of the cultural assumptions that cloud our vision. We assume a division between matter and spirit that doesn’t really exist, but because our Western culture is built on that idea we can’t seem to divest ourselves of it.

The world is suffering the consequences of that thinking now. It’s all coming to a head, in nature and in our own societies. Nature is on the rack, being torn limb from limb, as a consequence of our childish ideas of existence. Those thick layers of practicality are creating an untenable world, a world that is collapsing as we speak.

Maybe we need “thick layers of spirituality,” to coin a phrase, the kind we see in more “primitive” cultures. We also need hearts open to beauty, not to mention a vision that can penetrate below the surface we occupy ourselves with so obsessively.

A superficial culture made up of superficial individuals is a danger to the survival of planet Earth. I think it’s our mission as artists to see clearly and to help others see clearly.

Writers and artists have a healing mission, if they can see it and claim it.

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