Exploring the Intersection of the Artist’s Path & the Wisdom Path
Recently I’ve become very interested in comparing creative endeavor and spiritual practice. Specifically, exploring the intersection between art making and liberation-oriented meditative paths. This exploration is practice based, as I am a meditator, artist, and mystic but not a scholar. I am interested in what connections can be made experientially through the practice of art making and meditation, vs. academically or historically.
As a practitioner of mainly Buddhist meditative approaches, I’ve found my life opened in beautiful, profound ways through insight or wisdom practice. As I have been an artist since I was quite young, my relationship to creative practice was at times a concurrent exploration alongside my meditative path, while at other times it felt quite separate. Sometimes, very painfully, these two strands of practice that called me (spiritual practice and art making practice) felt to be irreconcilable, or even at odds with each other.
Over time, the question for me in terms of exploring the relationship to art making and a spiritual path has become distilled in a certain way that feels useful to me – looking at both endeavors in terms of how they function to open one’s perspective to reveal ways of relating to experience that otherwise are hidden. So, something about setting aside how each one “looks” – the mythos surrounding different ways of holding the path of the artist, or the buddhist path, or a mystical path. The associated images, beliefs, narratives, lifestyles ascribed to each of these paths were the primary aspects that felt to me to be irreconcilable.
So, looking primarily at the process of art making and the ways that wisdom-oriented meditation practice functions – the elements and mechanics of each, if you will – opens up an exploration of how each can embolden or empower the other. How can the creative path open deeper freedom for oneself? What does the artist already know or intuit that supports the deepening of meditative exploration? What does one learn about how a limiting sense of self is constructed through thoughtfully engaging with opening the creative process?
If you are interested in this area of exploration, you might wish to join an upcoming session of a short course I’m leading called “Opening What is Closed”, geared towards dharma practitioners who have a creative practice of some kind. I am beginning to add some short writings here – so check back over time. I am hoping over the next year to offer some individual sessions on different aspects of this exploration – sign up for my mailing list if you wish to be updated about this.
Writings on this theme: