Art As A Spiritual Practice

If there's one thing long time readers should pick up from following my blogs, it's that I see my art as a spiritual practice.
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development. - Wikipedia

In it's purest sense, spirituality has very little to do with organized religion. In fact, rather than being a group exercise, it is a very personal experience. Throughout history, artists have often been the keepers of a sense of spirituality in our various cultures. 

I look at my own path, one of being raised Catholic, then delving into mysticism (such as Rosicrucianism), and finally ending up where I exist today, extremely interested in Buddhist thought and practice, yet not belonging to any group experience or practice. 

John Cage at Ryoanji

Experience As Meditation

Like many before me, I have long realized that my art—encompassing music, writing, photography, design, etc.—is a spiritual path. When I play music, or even write these blogs, it is in essence a way for me to seek understanding and experience as a spiritual practice. All that I do is a form of meditation, and as such, has become a necessary part of my existence. 

While some artists seek fame and/or fortune, I suspect that most are driven by an internal need to create. This creation is both an expression of who/what/where a person is, and a seeking of understanding of what the whole experience, both inner and outer, of life is. For me, I create and express myself through my art because I must. It is as necessary as breathing. To not create is to deny a very part of my reason to exist.

Meditation as a physical act

Meditation As Experience

The act of performing, writing, creating, is in itself an act of meditation, as I am both transformed from who I am, and transcended to another realm. In the act, I often become unaware of the world around me, instead becoming completely focused on an inner world, on the act of creating itself. And like traditional meditation, I am open to the experience and what it offers.

While I enjoy silent meditation, for me, I prefer active meditation, where I am connecting to the world on a physical lever, all the while experiencing the Universe on an inner, spiritual level. This combination satisfies the dual nature of 

inner/outer
physical/mental
sound/silence
heaven/earth

For me, this is a regular series of activities (performing, writing, etc.) that fit along other daily practices, like yoga.

How do you view your art?
How do you view your spiritual practice?
Are they one in the same?

~ MB

Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™ / Seek Peace




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