Continuing the theme of chaos and calm, these days, almost all of us are in this situation of over thinking, over choosing, over acting, over sharing, and overreacting. To be truthful, most of us are ill-equipped to deal with it. The mind is not set up to handle this much thinking and hyper stimulation. Sometimes I wonder how any of us tolerate this, yet we do, and we keep on going, testing our sanity, and sacrificing our health.
Artists are extremely sensitive. It's one of the reasons we become artists. We feel things in a way that others often do not. This sensitivity is the lifeblood of our practice but it can lead to big problems if left unchecked. A recent intense bout of depression has made me really think about this situation even more. The knee jerk reaction by most people to dealing with depression is to medicate. Off the top of my head I can think of 7 direct family members that are medicated and are dealing with anxiety and depression. 7! That's without even really thinking about it. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Obviously we are doing something wrong as a society to allow this to continue. Yet we go on in our daily lives thinking this is normal and that there is nothing we can do about it. This situation is far from normal and we have to come together as a society to try to change this.
In my experience the creative act is a spiritual act. Being creative in any manner puts us in direct contact with our awareness, our true selves, our Buddha nature, the moment. This may be the reason so many artists are transcendent in their work but train wrecks in their lives. The work puts the artist directly in the moment of the creative transcendent act. But outside of the work that awareness is lost; the artist is lost and does not know how to deal with the common problems that arise in life. Far too often they don’t know how to contain the ego. So goes the fall from grace. Look at Jackson Pollock. He was enlightened while working and a destructive maniac when not working. He is the extreme example of what I am talking about.
So it is my goal to put this madness to rest and make my life my art and my art my life. I want the two to exist as one. Mindfulness while working is equal to mindfulness while living a mundane life. When the two are put together we have true strength. Its easy to talk about but hard to practice. When your child is screaming at you, where are you? What arises? Who arises? When doing dishes for the fifth time in a day or folding an endless pile of laundry, where are you? Who is folding the laundry. Mindfulness practice must remain diligent. This is why I consider menial chores such an essential practice and should be considered high art. The art is represented by the mind or where the mind is when engaging in these activities. This is art in action. This is performance art. This is REAL art. It’s nice to look at a Picasso or a Van Gogh. But how often do we do this in our lives? What is the significance of their work that makes it seem like what they did is somehow more important than what we do every day? I cannot stress enough that it is the little things that we do in life, done mindfully, done with wisdom, and done as a holy act as one with all things. This is true art.