NeoTheosophnik Bongo Art Missive!
Nov 15, 1996 05:48 AM
by Art House
I can't tell you how refreshing it's been to receive your posts of late.
It's so nice to see you take the bull by the horns and individualize the
teachings rather than just quote or second guess references from the
Do you know that you do that! It's one thing to read a lot and be able
to talk the talk. It's another thing to internalize it and start to
creatively express oneself because of and through it! It's really what
we do now that is important, no? *Let's all sit under our own vine and
fig tree!* Bravo!
You are delightfully brave, and being creative cousins of a sort, we
here at ArtHouse salute you for your creative courage.
Enough patting on the back! ;-)>
I for one have been stimulated to high degree by your suggestive poetics
and want to share my thoughts with you. So much has happened since the
days of HPB, et al, as you know, that it stands to reason that sincere
aspirants must perform the task of assimilating their present
psychological and cultural context in light of what they understand of
You have opened up several very interestring topics with your beatnik
rants and we at ArtHouse have been soaring in good humor ever since!
(All tits in the air!) I want to say to you at the outset that creative
endeavor in light of spiritual doctrine has been a personal focus of
mine for some time. Your insights are poignant and timely and I fear I
cannot do justice to them in one response.
I'll save the topics of emotion and sexuality for another time.
Meanwhile, I have been mulling over a reply to your past posts. At one
point you had expressed a comment about the seeming inadequacy of single
images or sacred syllables to contain or convey spiritual merit and I
want to say to you...NOT SO!
Fathom this if you will:
IMO, The artist (and this means anyone involved in creative sensual
endeavor, be it verbal, visual, motive, aural, etc.) has to face the
blank substrate of their craft. A writer's page, a dancer's quiescence,
a musician's silence or an artist's blank paper or canvas. The very act
of addressing the substrate can be one of conscious cosmic
correspondence. It all depends on the strength and quality of the inward
contact you are able to make with your soul or spirit (however you
choose to designate such). I think of the stillness of the TaiChi player
before they begin to move.
If your attitude to the *ground* (as I call it) is sincere, and your
perception of the pregnant emptiness before you is honored, any creative
effort that you make will, I believe, be qualified with the proper
context and expressive of your spiritual authenticity (warts and all ...
and that's OK!)
It's really fine either way, intentional or not, but seems to benefit
manas more with focused attention. Conscious effort seems to help build
the personal and collective antahkarana to a greater degree.
However, it often takes an individual artist time to relate to and come
to some understanding of what they have made. In creative work it also
falls on others to interpret the cultural significance of what one has
done and diffuse it's merit throughout the community. This all can take
time. The artist's creative obligation is to produce from one's personal
inner necessity. Any particular work's merit beyond that sphere is
I have often waited in repose for the proper moment to lift brush to
paper... When it comes, a single point or mark can be veritably God in
expression where *I AM* (pardon the New Age-iness of that but stop and
think about it). Such talismanic rituals of art-making are the basis for
the seed syllable caligraphs and sacred diagrams of esoteric traditions.
If properly made, they echo the state of attunement and function in the
temporal world as crystalisations of awareness for all those who can
benefit from them. Whether understood as such or not doesn't matter, for
I believe intention is everything. Co-operative will is the key.
Example: (silence or space)... +.-
The example, albeit simplistic - performs a ritual of harmony in which
awareness of the fact of wholeness breeds wholeness in human
consciousness. This can have repercussions that will benefit those who
come under the influence of such expressions even if unaware of them
(work this thought out for yourself). Living with such formations of
inward states reinforces the ability to maintain the contact and its
strength. This I believe, is an example of practical occultism for an
artist and a clue to one of the possible roles of arts in culture.
Rituals such as sacred calligraphy, the writing of bija mantras,
mandalas, tantric yantra diagrams, etc. have their basis in such
knowledge. It becomes a matter of sincerity and disciplined effort.
Sacred approaches to ritual art-making, whether in the depiction of
traditional or original forms, are a hidden asset to development. This
practice was vouchsafed to devotees and priestcraft and later
disseminated (pardon the gender reference) to local communities where it
eventually becomes folk tradition. As such it has served as a container
for much of what we have in the world as esoteric and exoteric legacy.
It would be hard to imagine the spiritual heritage we possess be it not
for the artists and forms of art that have so obediently served to
convey, contain and preserve it, no?
I have often wondered about the differences between western images of
spirituality and eastern traditions of the same. I don't want to overly
generalize as there are exceptions in both cases, but in western
depictions, one often finds that the images tend to place the spiritual
powers outside the viewer and keep them effectively in a state of
wanting, desire or lack. In the east, at times, there seems to be
another idea at work. It is almost as if they asked a different
question. Instead of *what does Christ (or Buddha) look like, and what
is his story, etc?*, they sometimes seem to ask, *if I imagined being
Christ (Buddha, or a Superior *Man*), how would I look at the world, see
a flower, gaze at a branch, etc?* The resulting images are I believe,
for the viewer, vehicles for entering into psycho-spiritual states that
can put one in rapport with inner divinity and transform identity in a
way that is prevented in the other modes of depiction.
I respect both views, but find myself drawn to those that confirm the
indwelling presence. The radical shift in perception of both self and
the world that results is a benefit that cannot be ignored. A veritable
*immortelle* bequeathed to the earth. A thread woven into the collective
Creative necessity and impulse moves in all of us to varying degrees. In
yielding to it we often fall into the best parts of ourselves and always
return the better for having made the journey.
I look forward to your thoughts and insights and want you to know that
here at ArtHouse you have found friends.
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