August 9, 2017

Want Wisdom? Make more Art.

I have discovered something that seems incredibly important in this time of uncertainty and turbulent change.

If we open up to it, we can receive valuable guidance from somewhere beyond the limited stories of our ego-mind.

This is important because the stories running wild in our head are usually self-centered and have little relation to the reality of our connection with life, the universe, and each other.

This guidance can offer unexpected and skillful direction on how to best navigate the twisty turns of life and how to work toward healing and empowering changes that our world and our fellow beings require of us.

It’s a mystery to me where this guidance comes from, but it always results in an expansive, life affirming, and beneficial effect on my life and for the world when I make use of it.

Some speak of this guidance as coming from our “Higher Self,” whispering mystical nuggets of wisdom in our ear. Others say it comes from our spirit guides, angels, or other mythological beings. Wherever it comes from, it seems that accessing this guidance is a good thing to learn to do—especially in these times as we face some of the most formidable challenges we have ever confronted as a species.

I originally discovered this guidance through the process of making art. Any type of creative endeavor is a good place to start when seeking familiarity with our deeper wisdom.

I used to spend a lot of time in front of a painter’s easel, courting the muse. I would gently stare into the infinite depths of possibility that a blank canvas represents—silently asking the cosmos what image wished to emerge from the white expanse—and then doing my best to get out of the way of the flow of creative vision.

The space in front of the canvas was meditative, still, and spacious. I was seeking my full presence in that space so I could be a vessel for what I considered to be the unfolding inspiration of a creative universe.

With a consistency that never failed to surprise and delight me, through seemingly random sweeps of a brush, an image would begin to emerge. I only had to fill it in with increasingly heavier layers of pigment, watching as the image materialized in greater detail as I worked.

I considered the space where I paint to be sacred. I could easily cultivate a receptive and trusting state of consciousness there. And while I never understood where those images came from, their arising seemed the most natural thing in that dedicated space.

What I didn’t appreciate at the time was how every space is sacred. That receptive, trusting, and spacious state of mindfulness can be cultivated in any place that I happened to be.

But, due to my own limited mental conditioning, accessing that type of ethereal guidance beyond ego did not seem like the thing to do in my workplace or marriage or morning commute—or anywhere besides my art space. Those other places seemed to require a more pragmatic sense of control, rather than a mystical sense of surrender.

Or so I thought.

Fortunately, like you, I am an evolving being and my view on what is effective has become much more malleable as I’ve aged. I have come to truly understand the value of accessing that mysterious higher wisdom in every aspect of my life that I can—at least when I remember to do so. That remembering is at the heart of the practice of accessing spiritual guidance.

As I am able to abide in mindfulness, cultivated through different meditation practices, it becomes a more natural occurrence. Through the meditative mind-state, I’m able to embody the perfect flow in any given situation. It’s not so much words in my head telling me what to do, but rather a feeling of right action in a given moment. Being “in the zone.” It’s not about doing, but rather something happening through me as I am able to get out of the way. The dancer becoming the dance.

The funny thing about this process is thinking I have to get “out of the way” in order for something greater than me to come through. But, as I engage in mindfulness practices with a greater consistency, I am discovering that the still and spacious mind that is a channel for profound creative energy is actually more me than the identity I think needs to get out of the way.

Perhaps I am beginning to understand where this guidance actually does come from after all.

Relephant read:

7 Julia Cameron Quotes to awaken your Inner Artist.


Author: Tod Evans 
Image: Alef Vinnicius/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson

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