Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spirituality, Love and Art / Part IV

In saving the best for last in this four-part series, I chose love because it is the glue binding this particular subject matter. Yes, love is the strongest component of spirituality and art. It is both the motivation and the expression, as manifested through practice.

Strictly and quickly from my first mind, I view love as a combination of compassion, commitment and communion. Compassion because love allows you to acknowledge the feelings of others. Commitment because love is a choice we make. And communion because on the most fundamental level, love allows us to see our connection to other human beings, as well as other living things.

When I say that I cannot thrive without love, I mean it. This is why I chose at a relatively young age to do the work of developing myself spiritually - a life-long and never-arriving quest. The good news is that I get to know love by choosing to give it through my thoughts, words and deeds.

Regardless of whether a handsome, loving man is in my life, I still am able to experience love by showing it. In doing so, it is invariably reflected back to me. To family, friends, children and animals, I extend kindness, laughter and concern. No less than this, but also a deeper, passionate sexual intimacy is what I extend to a committed and romantic relationship with the man of my choosing. No less than the love shown to others, but also a different passion and intensity is what I bring to the art process.

It is true that when rendered from the heart and soul as well as the intellect, the making of art is essentially an act of love. It is the giving of one's whole self to the conception and birth of a vision. That love is returned in both the completed work and the appreciation of the viewers. This is what makes art such a satisfying pursuit, a feeling that sends artists back to the drawing board time and again.

If love was a more open and benevolent pursuit in our society, our problems would be fewer. I believe that many of the seemingly insurmountable political issues we are now facing are inter-related signals of inevitable, yet necessary change that must occur if humankind is to survive. Our disregard of nature and other human beings is disregard of our spiritual selves, our loving selves. When viewed through critical thinking, it is obvious that this disregard is the crux of every political issue we now face.

Our daily lives are more enjoyable when we practice spirituality, give love (receive) and do work we love. I have found that I am happy when I find small pleasures in life rather than obsessively seeking the "big thrill," whatever that might be. Even in the midst of doubt or worry, I now find that I am able to enjoy the pleasure of a new flower, a note from a friend or the the funny look on my cat's face when she yawns and stretches simultaneously.

In this last post of the series, I realize there is so much more I want to say on the topic. But I probably would have to write a book to do so. Basically, I feel that spirituality, love and art are inter-related and I hope my posts have adquately expressed this.

My next post: "The Balance of Solitude and Socializing"