Painting by Jean-Marie Khnopff

Most of our karma is collective. We suffer for the sins of others, as others suffer for ours. Humanity is one. Ignorance of this fact does not change it. We could have been much happier people ourselves, but for our indifference to the sufferings of others.

Questioner: Shall I be compelled to be reborn? How dreadful!

Nisargadatta: There is no compulsion. You get what you want. You make your own plans and you carry them out.

Q: Do we condemn ourselves to suffer?

N: We grow through investigation, and to investigate we need experience. We tend to repeat what we have not understood. If we are sensitive and intelligent, we need not suffer. Pain is a call for attention and the penalty of carelessness. Intelligent and compassionate action is the only remedy.

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“The Crisis-

…considering what the world is now, with all the misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, the tremendous advancement in technology, and so on, it seems to me, though man has cultivated the external world and has more or less mastered it, inwardly he is still as he was: a great deal of animal in him; he is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive, and he has built a society along these lines.”

~Jiddu Krishnamurti

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“That’s the practice — being there, quiet when silence is wanted by the other, or engaged in a non-stop conversation if that’s what they want. An hour sometimes passes where I don’t say a single word! My heart open, my tears falling if moved to tears- no cares interfering about diagnosis or theory or doing doing doing. Just being there with love. It’s really that simple. I’ve led gatherings at Esalen institute the past five years and other places that focus on compassionately being with people in extreme states.”

— Michael Cornwall, Ph.D.

Normal consciousness floats on the surface of another older consciousness that registers and reacts to how we are conducting our lives, how we are thinking and feeling as we meet the challenges of living. Artists and creative people of all stripes evolve a give-and-take relationship with this deeper mind, a dialogue that releases unexpected beauty and insight into our work.

This deep mind is not to be toyed with. There are atavistic monsters in the deep. Sometimes the protective barrier is too weak and madness results. It’s the same unconscious mind in another guise.

Our personal consciousness is limited. We are confined to a small life if we have no relationship with nature both in and around us. Creativity relies on our receptivity to subtle energies that are flowing through and around us constantly.

Creativity and insight come from listening and responding to inner prompting. Paying attention to the “what is” is the real work of the artist. We learn, as we

put aside our conclusions and assumptions, that we were wrong, that nothing is a standalone entity, that everything is tied to everything else in a beautiful way.

If we want to create as a way of life, if we want to be artists of any kind, it behooves us to nurture and protect our sensitivity, to befriend our intuitive and physical senses. Rational approaches to creativity have their uses but mostly for editing after creative inspiration is spent.

We’re all sitting on the same volcano. Everything depends on how we relate to it whether it is a volcano of inspiration and beauty or something else entirely. I have watched as psychosis overwhelmed a friend and I was shocked at how intractable that process is once it gets started. I believe that we all need to live from our depths but that it’s important to keep a kind and attentive ear cocked to our deeper energy-flows.

That’s why involvement in the arts is healing, whether you are considered good or bad by the experts. Integrating the raw impulses and archetypal energies we carry through life is one of the tasks of creativity. We humans are trying to wake up to ourselves and to the world.

Artists are involved in compassionately waking themselves up and in doing so they help the world to wake up.

From Eldo Stellucci

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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