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Thursday, March 5, 2015
Transcendence - Artists and Higher Consciousness
Does the artists mind transcend to a higher level of consciousness when they are creating?
This is a question I've thought about for many years. It is a question that many artists refuse to even consider or acknowledge. Its almost like they are afraid to admit that their mind goes to another place while they work.
But time and time again there are indications that we reach into a special place within ourselves when we are in the act of creating. A place that disappears instantly when we return to the daily dynamics of life
It is often like being on a roller coaster. We can lose ourselves in the highs and the lows and the only way we can control it is by distancing ourselves it occurs. We refuse to be labeled lunatics or new-agers so we stay silent about what might be going on within our brains and our spirits.
But it does occur. Whether its strictly a mind place that we go when we seek deeply into ourselves for that creative energy, or something more transcending to our spirits, I cannot say. But when we can admit that it does happen, I think it opens up new doorways for our art.
I do not think that artists have a monopoly on this. I think anyone who uses their creative talents in a very deep way allow themselves to open up to this ability. But each of us, whether painter, musician, or writer also face the pitfalls of being brought flailing back to earth to deal with the wall of life that involves survival of both ourselves and our creativity. It can be very frustrating.
To reach as high as the Gods, and to be cast down to the depths of the Devils is both our greatest joy and darkest nightmare.
That is a depressing thought I know, but face it, the rate of suicide within the artistic community is high. There must be a correlation that causes this to be.
The thing is, if used properly, it can also bring a person out of depression and create stability from mental instability. Believe me, I am one of them. My mother was also. But I've seen how art changed her life in her later years and allowed her a focus that she did not possess in the 60 years prior. I've always fought with depression but I found this early and I've used it to the maximum to keep myself stable and directed.
But it is also a fine edged sword that can come to bite you if your not prepared.
Its easy to listen to the voices around you that tell you that the world has no transcendence. We are grounded in this world and the rest is just our imagination. But I think artists know better. They sense they are touching something much more infinite in their work that they cannot even begin to describe to those who haven't been there.
So why am I so caught up in this tonight? Because my mind focuses on my own mortality right now. Some know that a year or so ago I was very sick with HIV. Not just HIV, but over the edge into AIDS. This is something that is a bit rarer now that medicine has become better, but my immune system reacted poorly and crashed and burned quickly. It is not something I hide although I don't often talk about it either. In fact I am sure it was the best thing that could have happened because it allowed me to face some other health problems I probably would not have known about for quite some time.
I've recovered well over the past year and I am perhaps more healthy than I've ever been. But unfortunately my immune system is still in perilous shape. It takes years to build back to a healthy level. And while it is ever a concern and I sometimes tire easily, I've come back from this even more determined to create and grow as an artist and to share those abilities with others so that my own skills are not lost.
So why worry about transcendence if all is going well? Because I've just come away from my first real battle against a very poor immune system. What I thought was a cold quickly decided it would become pneumonia and placed me in the hospital. And I found this distressing. I ask myself whether this will continue to occur and weaken me more and eventually destroy me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not depressed. In fact my art gives me stability to at least consider that this is not something I will totally bounce back from without fearing the idea. But after having been told countless times in the past days that I had to stop working and stick to bed rest, I still find myself back in my studio, slightly out of breath and not working at nearly the stellar speed of light I would usually work at. But working nonetheless. And feeling better for it, despite doctors telling me I had to lay around and do nothing.
So I come full circle back to the transcendence issue. Am I doing myself more harm by working or am I doing myself a service because in transcending through my art I am in turn healing myself? There is some evidence to support this. Coming from near total disability a year ago, I forced myself into my studio to work non-stop and I can't help but think that this in turn made me stronger, quicker. And even if it hasn't, has it not made me a happier person and a stronger spirit for it?
So are artists healthier in body, mind and spirit because of the work they do? Have their been studies regarding this? I do not know. What I do know though is that spending my second evening after having been in the hospital working slowly but diligently in my studio has been better for me than all the medicine they gave me to take. And my mind can't help but focus on these things even as I practice them.
So I ask again, does the artists mind transcend to a higher level of consciousness when creating? We may never know for sure.