“The Artist” The Way of the Arts

The Artist within us finds spiritual inspiration and expression through the colors, designs, symbols, sounds, rhythms, metaphors, stories and movements of painting, drawing, sculpture, music, poetry and dance.

• Are you naturally comfortable with the creative or artistic expression? • Are there artists and works of art that give expression to your own sense of the spiritual? • Does participating in the arts inspire and bring-out the spiritual within you?

IF YOUR ANSWER to all of these questions is “Yes,” then The Way of the Arts might be your primary road into spiritual learning and practice. For many artistic learners, spiritual experience is best conveyed and experienced through creative expression. Words and intellectual concepts often fail to capture, for example, an epiphany of the transcendent, the marvelous geometric designs of existence, the mysterious shapes and colors of creation, the beautiful galaxies of the universe. But in the poetry of Rumi, the music of Mahler, the dance of Fonteyn, or the paintings of Michelangelo, something of the grandeur and profundity of these experiences might be expressed. Our natural affinity for aesthetics inspires us to expand and deepen our own sense of the sacred.

Therefore, artists throughout the centuries have used symbols, sounds, rhythms, colors, designs, metaphors, stories and movement as vehicles for awakening our sense of the sacred, or numinous. While religions speak of God, Allah, Brahman, HaShem or Wakantanka, the arts allude to these supra-verbal realities through poetic expression, music, dance and the visual arts. The arts can provide bridges to the sacred that normal conceptual modes cannot easily achieve.

The arts are also a means of creating a state of consciousness wherein the numinous can be perceived or intuited. Christian or Buddhist monastic chants, symphonic or choral music, Hindu devotional mantras, the whirling of Dervishes, tribal drumming, dancing and sand painting, Japanese calligraphy, paintings, sculptures, tribal masks, religious architecture, and Taoist poetry are all art forms designed to engender a state of consciousness whereby transcendent communion with the numinous becomes possible.

For more on this article, refer to the book: Mandala – Creating an Authentic Spiritual Path.

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