How can the true creative spirit emerge if the original breath of life, of your creation, is blocked by self-importance?
Now that you know this, would you try to dissolve self-interest in the creative process? The mind must not be moved by attachments to one’s art nor the process of creating it. Only in the absence of attachments can stillness arrive and access be granted into the divine reservoir of creative nectar where pure inspiration is abundantly flowing.
It is by and through stillness that we create truly inspired art with smiling enthusiasm. We create the kind of art that is timeless and eternal when we are no longer healing ourselves through the art. All is part and one with the whole artistic process, and necessary in order for the spirit that creates only as a selfless service to emerge.
Art begins to evoke higher aspects of the truest Self where it is created devoid of self-importance and becomes rather a discipline of intentional focus to create and concentrate on the divine qualities we all desire to stimulate and awaken within ourselves. In this attitude, our art inevitably becomes a spiritual pathway to enlightenment, a pathway to the heART that is selfless.
With sincere devotion, faith and discipline, the creative process can become both the mode and the container for spiritual alchemy. Part of this process would also be the artists ability to then release the manifested work(s) of art back into the world with great humility and detachment so it may be enjoyed and used for it’s divine purpose; impressing beauty, joy, peace, happiness, harmony, insight and wisdom on the mind of the experiencer, invoking any emotion or feeling – so they too may be healed and transformed.
How do we uncover the original artist, the purity of the creative process through skillful means and discipline?
Artistry is like a process of achieving a level of self-realization through art. The artist has to define and refine his/her skill over a long period of trial and time, with steadfast faith, discipline and devotion to the art. This requires daily practice, right action and effort, awareness, focus and concentration, positive thought and determination, trust in the creative process and the innate ability of the self to create… while naturally, understanding deepens, grows and expands in the awareness of art as a spiritual mode.
The artist at first has to acquire knowledge on their subject and then put it to practice. They have to experience and feel it, study both the art and the self in the creative process. Before that, they must feel a burning desire to create, to paint, to dance, to sing, to write… and recognize that desire as worthy and meaningful. When that desire is recognized, then a decision is made to honour it… because it will not leave the heart and mind until they do.
When art is meant for personal insight and spiritual growth, the elusive inspiration of it does not leave and will not be pacified by or through any other means.
With this idea in mind, what would need to happen?
The artist would first need to surrender to the call for creation, then… confidently move forward in creative action so as to initiate the process of their artistry / self-mastery and begin the alchemical experience of transforming thought (air/space) into form (earth/water) through action (fire). This process is merely symbolic and a means for working with the elemental stuff of the self that too desires new life, to be re-created through transformation. Ultimate realization of the Creative Life Source that is working through and as the artist is a goal that requires no mind. It happens naturally through one’s physical efforts toward the inspired creative task.
This path and process, as I understand and experience it, is not different from the processes described in the popularized spiritual paths we’ve come to know such as Yoga. Faith in what you are doing, discipline and devotion are universal and applicable concepts that work anywhere and with anyone whom desires for higher, wiser knowing, truth and love. The mode appears only different, but results can be same where the intention and effort is clear and sincere. Where you involve yourself in body, mind, and spirit… where you take literal actions with symbolic meaning; intentional thought and feeling – this is yoga.
All spiritual pursuits and paths involve a level of discipline in practice.
Practice makes perfect is something that we hear and say. However, the perfect can be mis-represented and therefore mis-understood in destructive and detrimental ways for our artists. We are not aiming to be perfect artists, producing perfect art in comparison to or in competition with the flawed artists who create ‘non perfect’ art or fail to produce any art at all. Through daily practice as devotion to the Self with a spiritual approach to discipline, we are righteously aiming to perfect the self, that is to say – that through a process of self-inquiry and discovery (here, we are using an art-form as the mode), we allow ourselves to embody and literally become the inherent divine perfection of our very existence.
An artists work eventually does become more of an effortless, joyful responding and surrendering to the Source of their inspiration and spontaneous creative flow with this idea and approach in mind. It is through the stillness portal that we can access truly inspired art, the kind of art that will timelessly and eternally heal and transform the world into a peaceful and loving home for all living beings. This is the power of audio and visual impression. It is important, the kind of art we make. It is important the quality of mind that is creating.
Art is a discipline and responsibility. It requires great effort and determination to become, only then to transcend “The Artist” so we may enter into stillness and integrity… allowing for a soft and gentle landing in the heart and centre of the Self that no longer needs to identify with being the doer in the creative process. Instead, the lucky invitation and request to create is graciously accepted by saying “yes!” with a larger than life enthusiasm to serve, simply and only because it is divinely assigned duty. What an honour!
May art always remind us of who we truly are.
May art serve as a pathway, the gateway into the heart and reality of what is true and act to swiftly heal any pain that is found there. May the true creative spirit emerge from the original breath of life, animating both the artist and his/her works of art as magnificently manifested incarnations of God, of LOVE and JOY… always evolving, ever-changing, relatively growing and serving while absolutely and transiently becoming One with the everlasting, all pervading True Creative Spirit.
For Odissi Indian Classical Dance classes in Kaslo, workshops or retreats contact Sheena, firstname.lastname@example.org. For Flamenco classes in Saskatchewan and performance, contact Kari Alba (in photo above) @ Alma Flamenca Music and Dance Saskatoon.
Written by Sheena Oliphant, Multidisciplinary Artist