Artist: The Unorthodox Mind
The artistic mind is hidden within all of us, for art is the creative process of life’s choices. Very few people rise to the riddle of the moment.
For every individual alive at this time on earth, there is a deep-rooted psychological riddle just waiting to be unravelled. We typically think of each passing moment as a random anomaly that is disconnected from the bigger picture. Thus, the riddle begins its work. By obsessing our attention upon individual pieces of the day, we begin to see only the pieces of the riddle that we assume are the most important. The seemingly trivial pieces are ignored, which is how any riddle remains elusive.
If we focus only upon our disbelief in the events of life being connected, we will no doubt develop our mind to continuously disbelieve everything else from that point forward. Think of it this way—once a child experiences something new, a judgement is made. The child stores this judgement in the brain by hardwiring neural pathways in memorable patterns. As soon as the child does this, it is almost certain that he or she will react in the same way next time. So, while we may temporarily entertain the notion that all things in life are disconnected, we simultaneously make it easier for ourselves, subconsciously, to entertain similar ideas in the future. As we should all know, once a pattern becomes a subconscious routine it begins to build the skeleton of our ego. It becomes the character traits others see in us, even though we fail to see them in ourselves.
The ego is, in itself, a riddle. Nothing evil, but simply a challenge. Its existence is entirely dependent upon our belief that life is separate from all its ingredients. When we believe that the ingredients are separate, we allow the mind to focus our attention only upon the ingredients we like or dislike. This is a reflection of how quickly we forget the beauty of life when something horrible has happened. Beauty never goes away, it just becomes subconscious.
The riddle that is hidden in every moment is passive in nature. It does not actively seek our attention. The riddle does not need us to solve it out of desperation. It waits patiently in the corner because it knows that in the end we will recognise the futility of desperation. Finally, the riddle becomes our greatest teacher.
When you recognise how the colour of your lover's shirt may better reflect how she is feeling, rather than the conversation you hold with her, that is when we start to see the riddle. Or when we notice that each specific season affects us emotionally in consistent ways, that is when we are beginning to understand our unorthodox mind: the mind of an artist. For the mind of any artist sees that all events, anomalies, scenarios, people and places are connected by one thing—they have all been observed by us, and the mind cannot refuse the adventure of seeking to understand everything we have observed as one big riddle.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.—The Buddha.
When all things are believed to be connected, then we begin using the magic of our mind to turn the entirety of our life into a single driving purpose. Not necessarily believing that whatever we think will eventually become a reality, but a belief that we can receive the moment however we choose and, therefore, utilise it in an infinite number of ways.
To distinguish between being 'in the moment' and the manner in which we 'receive the moment,' it is important to note that the former is a method to forestall the mind from impulsively reacting to life. The latter is an ever-adaptable way to simultaneously live in the moment whilst intuitively responding to it. It is not the specific decisions we make, but our ability to keep unravelling the riddle that brings the greatest merit.
This is what legends and myths refer to as magic. When the conventional mind of people today think of the word magic, we commonly attach to it ideas of impossibilities and unbelievable feats. This comes from the one who believes all things to be separate and disconnected. A woman wouldn't think to ask how the ripples appeared in the pond if she herself threw the pebble into the water. Therein lies the key to the riddle. Magic is wielded by the magician that lets each moment dance into their space however he or she chooses, whilst responding gracefully and adaptively.
We become bored with life when each passing moment feels redundant and similar to the last. Make no mistake—when every day feels exactly the same, it is because our mind refuses to recognise what is new, not because the day is on repeat. Magic begins when we observe the subtle changes in each passing second. Likewise, magic completes itself once we respond.
For example, in a drum circle there is no conductor or leader. Each drummer can only hear the drums closest to him. Therefore, each drummer is passively listening to the rhythm to his left and to his right. Simultaneously, he is responding by balancing the two. If one is fast and the other is slow, then he will become the middle ground. By responding in this way, the drummer does not become a leader and does not need to conduct the drum circle.
That would be our old understanding of a magician who waves a wand and changes life according to his whim. That kind of magic belongs only to Hollywood. A real magician, like the drummer who balances the rhythm of a drum circle, wields his magic by letting the moment use his body as a vehicle to express itself. The drummer will intuitively balance two opposing rhythms because the greater rhythm calls for it. He simply listens and responds. If he cannot hear the whole drum circle, then he doesn't pretend to know what it sounds like on the other side. Similarly, a magician will not attempt to perform anything beyond his ability. That would be an effort of the ego.
Our ego is the sum of each passing moment that we ignore. As we keep ignoring the subtleties of the moment, the riddle continues to build itself into a monster standing in between the magician and his wand, or the drummer and his drum. Our ego is the anti-magician.
No magic can be felt in our lives until we solve the riddle of the ego. Our ego is not an enemy; the ego is our greatest guru. It is the shaman that can heal all ailments. It is the sage with the simplest, most poetic words to calm the mind. Quite possibly, the greatest obstacle to our enlightenment is the notion that we can divorce ourselves from the ego. There is nothing from our past that we can bury in the garden of our present that won't eventually grow into a future burden.
Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.—Marshall McLuhan
The unorthodox mind of the artist is hidden within all of us, even those who mistakenly feel they have no artistic ability. Art is the creative process of our choices. If you've ever worn clothes, spoken a word, performed a bodily gesture, or made a facial expression, you have then artistically expressed your perception of the moment back to the world from which it came. If this moment comes as a struggle to you, it is undeniable that your reaction will reflect that struggle, even if it is only recognisable to yourself.
You cannot lie to the moment, it hears your every thought. It knows you because it is not separate from you. It is the riddle. Your response to it becomes your continuing artistic attempt to unravel the hidden message. This attempt makes 'who' and 'what' we are in this world a mystery to what we once believed. We are not an individual thing responding to a mass of other individual things. Like the drummer in a drum circle, we are an intersection of a unified conscious network.
A drum circle tends to seek harmony and cooperation, just as the cells within our body seek the same. An absence of harmony in the body is called disease or illness. Whether you believe illness to be 'good' or 'bad' matters not. Only the ignorant mind and the sleeping consciousness would choose illness over health. Likewise, there is no correct way in which to respond to the riddle of the moment. However, the elixir that some call magic and others call inspiration is found in our accepting the challenge of the riddle rather than shrinking from it.
Someone may dare you to look at life upside down and inside out. This challenge may or may not move you. You may stand still upon your current worldview. No choice you make is ever wasted; however, I have seen a challenge set in motion. No matter how small or large the task may seem to the mind, the key is hidden in the tiny choices we make that go unnoticed, not the large ones that we obsess upon. The mind has never and will never sit idly by when it knows a riddle has presented itself. Therefore, I offer no salvation or aid in these words. Simply a challenge to rise to the riddle of the moment.
I presume the magic will find you there.
CALL TO EVOLUTION
1 Pay attention to the events of life that flow to you continuously and note the subtle connections between events—connections that do not need to make ‘rational’ sense.
2 See yourself as part of a vast, interconnected network; start to discern the range of responses you make back to the world.
3 Think about all the choices you make each day—simple things like the clothes you wear, your gestures and facial expressions—and understand that these decisions are all relevant in the greater scheme of things.
4 Practise ‘living in the moment’, responding intuitively and seeking cooperation, harmony and inspiration.
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