An artist has many similarities to a mystic. Both abide in the presence, seeing the world with open eyes, finding light even in the darkest rooms. The main difference between the two is that the artist has a craft, a way to make the meaning tangible. Artists and Mystics are often considered outcasts or misfits as a result of their honest interpretation and expression, which often veers from the conventional, mainstream’s currents. They are revered, nevertheless, for their grace. In a sense, they are the personification of the labyrinth, seeing reality as it is and accepting each twist and turn as perfection. Actively they participate in the dance of the polarities, simultaneously holding the awe and the suffering. As they themselves progress, they get pulled in both directions, embracing each experience, each emotion. With experience, their perception becomes lucid, and the pull lessens. Accepting that there is no predetermined path of truth, they intuitively listen, with their hearts, and react with pure, spontaneous, awareness. This, with their experiential innocence, enables deep connection to their surroundings, both human and non-human. It is through these connections that their understanding of truth develops. We are all artists “exposed to the cosmic revelation from birth and infancy.” Often as we begin to develop, with the world, our mystical connection to the world begins to blur. Picasso aptly professed his perceived reality of all children being born artists, but facing the challenge of maintaining their artistry as they aged. Society has competitively created distractions, which fill people’s cups to the brim, until they are inebriated and inattentive, often stopping and dropping them to their knees while traversing through the labyrinth. In this state, it is very difficult to put one foot in front of the other, and to move closer to the eternal light in the center. We become overwhelmed with the inherent irrationality of anxiety, and lose touch with the divine beauty that is within us, and surrounding us, at all times. This is common. Paradoxically, it is often the crises, the most intense periods of suffering and grief, that unearth our mystical roots. When we are keeled over, we remember what is essential and what really matters. We are forced to disconnect from the noise and commotion of the world, which enables us to connect to the omnipresent signal of the divine. It is not definite that this will happen nor can we plan it. What we can do is be aware of the possibility, so when the time comes we have the ability to intuitively react and transcend the neuroses that are keeping us down. This step is the beginning of the upward climb. It is common that once we begin to go up, we will come back down again. Then we will begin to go up again, with more confidence, surpassing our previous elevation. This up and down will continue until we reach a point where we are out of the forest, no longer surrounded by trees, and able to overlook the ground we arduously traversed, along with the grandeur that surrounds our individual path. We begin to regain our ability to feel the world with unhindered senses, as the Mystic. We again are able to see from our innate Artist’s view. As we evolve and leave our proverbial cocoons we are able to ignore the noise that once distracted us and only tune into the truth. We begin to see things as they are, and think for ourselves, regaining the ability to actively produce novel works of original art, with whatever hues are present on our palette. Artists and Mystics come in all shapes and forms; the farmer, fruit vendor, teacher, widow, the taxi driver, the homeless person playing his violin on the side of the road. Ideally, babies would maintain their connection to the mystery as they grow. But, for many of us this is not the case. There are a multitude of ways for people to unearth their inner child and uncover the Artist within them. For me, it was isolation and poetry. For others, it is becoming a parent, losing a loved one, experiencing creative emergence, practicing yoga, studying spiritual texts, falling in love, washing dishes, farming. Any practice, or situation, that enables a person presence and the ability to see themselves and the people and things around them as they really are, is one that takes them closer to artistry. Many of us have already had such practices or experiences, but have lost touch with them. Reflect. What can you do to acknowledge the suffering and beauty that is perpetually unfolding inside, and around you? What can you do to put one foot in front of the other, and reach the center of the labyrinth?
I drank that Wine of which the Soul is its vessel. Its ecstasy has stolen my intellect away. A Light came and kindled a Flame in the depth of my Soul. A Light so radiant that the sun orbits around it like a butterfly. Rumi