One day, a few years back, a painting caught my eye as I roamed through an art museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The artwork was a depiction of the interior of a human body. Rather than portray its skeletal features, the artist sketched the energy or chakra points of the being. The body was painted in the colours of the primary seven access points, and depicted waves of energy (in the same colours) flowing into and out of the body.
For an hour straight, I stared at this painting in awe, contemplating the state of consciousness the artist was trying to convey. The message of the painting was clear: At our core, we’re made of energy, and our true essence isn’t physical but spiritual.
If one painting can deliver this truth, then so can one song, photo or poem. As we each awaken into our being, we’ll start to feel an insatiable desire to share our own inner transformation with others. The soul’s vehicle of communication is creative expression, and it takes many forms.
Music might be the most powerful medium of creativity. How many of you have experienced feelings of pure joy while dancing or performing music? To me, reggae is the genre that absolutely transports me to a state of pure ecstasy. The driving baseline, soulful lyrics and positive vibrations that reggae delivers send me into such a state of rapture that I literally feel the need to drag anyone at the show with me onto the dance floor to share in the energy exchange!
I’ve come to believe that music, particularly if musicians use it as a form of worship, is one of the most inspiring forces on the planet, due to its power to move and unite people across different cultures, ethnicities and nationalities.
Writing and poetry
The written word, too, is a profound channel for the soul’s expression. After all, some of the most inspiring written works in history have been those about spiritual transcendence. The Bhagavad Gita, the Bible, and the Tao Te Ching are all notable examples, as are more modern visionary works of writing, such as Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.
Poetry, too, is a unique and inspired form of written expression, for it provides a direct pathway into our shared experience of reality. Poetry also conveys, in a few short lines, what it takes entire books to write. Its brevity reflects its heartfelt sincerity and its deep contact with the present moment.
Communion with living spirit
As expressions of living spirit, we can communicate deeply felt truths through all creative outlets. While sharing our art is intimately personal, it’s also paradoxically communal in the sense that it speaks to the unity of our journeys on the path.
To me, living in a world without creative expression wouldn’t be a life worth living. In the words of the legendary reggae band, Steel Pulse, “Life, life without music, I can’t go.” Art, the written word, photography and even storytelling (one of the oldest modes of creative expression) inform us of the richness of the human experience and allow us to intuitively feel our innate connection to being.
Matthew Fox, a mystic priest and theologian, wrote a beautiful little book called, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet. In it, he explores how the highest communion to that living spirit can be found right at our fingertips in the simplest expressions of human creativity. Further, he suggests that the most prayerful and spiritually powerful act a person can undertake is to create with an awareness of the place from which that gift arises.
Fox’s ideas are wise because they’re true! I suspect that many of you who are reading this now have directly experienced what he’s talking about. For when we’re absorbed in any creative act, we enter a timeless space and we feel fulfilled.
But what, exactly, is that sense of fulfillment we feel in those gloriously creative moments? That feeling is our soul’s experience of oneness that results from entering a direct communion with the source of creation. We feel fulfilled because our natural state is one of creative synergy with all that is IT. And when we create out of an awareness of that sacred place from which creativity arises, the power of our creative act is amplified many times over.
Creative expression is gifted to us
I can still remember the first time I knew that creative expression is a direct gift from the divine. Many years back, I found myself jamming with a group of very talented musician friends of mine. I was happily playing percussion.
At some point in the night, our impromptu jam session took on a life of its own. I recall being so enthralled and overcome by the bliss of playing that at one point, I turned to my friend who was on the lead guitar and exclaimed, “This is simply divine, and now I fully get why you guys devote your lives to playing music (my friends were in a nationally touring band at the time).”
In response to my comment, my friend simply gave me a knowing nod and we kept right on grooving! When the jam session did finally wind down, I distinctly remember looking at my phone and being surprised that it was 2 a.m. We’d jammed for five straight hours!
It didn’t matter that my hands were raw from hitting the djembe and bongos all night, because I’d touched a place beyond any sense of mild physical discomfort. I was aware that what I’d just experienced was a gift from the One.
Brahman serving Brahman
Since that memorable jam session, whenever I sit down to write something, play and perform music, or deliver a consciousness-themed talk, I try to take a moment to give thanks to the Creator for that gift of creation. And always, I strive my very best (but, of course, I don’t always succeed) to make my words or music an act of supreme worship.
In so doing, I like to offer my creative act as a sacrifice of devotion to the Highest. Because, in truth, the act of creative self-expression is like Brahman serving Brahman. For the creative act itself is a gift from Brahman, channelled through you, the creative conduit, as a manifestation of Brahman, and shared with others who are also manifestations of Brahman. This brings everyone, including you, the artist, closer to Brahman in a moment of complete and total love.
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