Tuesday, August 23, 2011


"The Realm of the Worms", copyright 1998
Since our thinking is tied to our conception of time, we tend to see our lives and our being in terms of a linear process. I have been somewhat depressed over lost success of the past. My emotions have been profound, and I have also seen the random and ephemeral nature of popularity. Fame or popularity are always bound to a specific place and time. The illusion that all spiritual leaders are talking about is something I have been staring at in recent years ... On the one hand, the relative popularity I enjoyed in the past (the fact that I exhibited in a capital city was, of course, quite helpful and spurred the sales), but I have become cynical and do not actually think that success is worthwhile. Moreover, I do not have the will of iron I had in the past as I am trying to build a new reputation in a new culture. What's it really worth anyway?

Well, most creative people need some feedback and appreciation from an audience in order to have the stamina to create, this is clear. If one is a serious artist, one does not live in a vacuum. One is dependant on an audience. I must admit that I have been very dependent on  the presence of one because I have experienced it as a kind of duty to create for others. It has been a noble mission in life and so on. What I suddenly realized was that I might have to move on from the audience centered creativity and find my way to a creativity that is for my own sake, at least to begin with. And maybe even for its own sake. Perhaps it is no coincidence that I have started to do self-portraits (I thus incorporate photographs or drawings of myself in my collages). I've already done a couple and have a couple more in mind. I notice that I have to redefine myself through my art. So even though I feel hopeless because I don't currently see a big interest in my art, I also do not want to stop making it.
"The Tree of Life ', copyright 1999
There are in other words a tendency in us to look back at our past and either idealize it or view it in catastrophic terms. The worst thing is we often think that the future should look like the past. Because we do not have the ability to see into the future, we find it hard to imagine what we will be like, and tend to wish for ourselves whatever we think was good in the past. That said, we often idealize the past and whatever was good seems even better than it really was. What we don't always realize is that we have evolved and changed, and nothing will ever again resemble the past. Generally, the past represents a more immature and less developed self. In my case, it is true that my art was deeply meaningful, but in in ways that are not yet quite so clear to me it must have been less mature and humane. It is not a question of judging stages of development, so immature does not by any means equal worse from a value point of view. In fact, the somewhat more immature art is often better than the more mature art simply because different ideals and emotional currents expressed were easier to describe. I don't know... I did not create glitzy New Age art but perhaps there was an ease and simplicity in all the profundity in the art of my past which was easier for others to absorb. The market has certainly changed, and so have I. I am much more emotionally complex, and my spiritual views are nowadays a little tricky and difficult to express. I have to accept this. I have often felt overwhelmed by all this, along with other momentous events of my life. It is not easy to extract what is truly important in the middle of such chaos.

To be walking around in circles for a long time is unnatural, even if many are so afraid of change that they blankly refuse to move on. Something was good for a while... then we move on and new challenges came along. If we scrutinize these challenges, we notice that they are more complex than our challenges were in the past. It is also often the case that we live a relatively orderly life for a while and are then thrown into chaos. It is in the nature of chaos that chaos follows upon order and vice versa. Life is not meant to be   of even thickness... And as we're in a more chaotic phase, we do not know where we are going and easily make the mistake of crying over what we lost.

A better way to think about our journey through life is to realize that we are inexorably moving from one stage to another (sometimes slower, sometimes faster). It is a process that moves forward and "upwards". Our life is not like a line or circle, but a spiral, and it moves from one level to another. Therefore, it is not worth pining back to the success and popularity of the past. There's something new waiting in the future if we allow ourselves to go with the flow. We all know that we should live in the moment because it's the only thing that exists. But it is also in the present moment that we rather unknowingly prepare for the future. We may feel insecure as we grope our way in relative darkness ... In the end we are conscious of very little of that which is right now, and we can not manoeuvre and manipulate the future.

I realized that I must live through all the difficult feelings, accept them and try to focus on the expression of my creativity as it now seems important. The future may offer success or it may not. Of course it is important that we get better off and get out of the poverty trap, so it is normal that there is a concern. But in all honesty, we can not do much more than what comes naturally at this time. The future is in some ways in our hands, but we cannot pinch if too tightly. Staying calm, collected and focused in the present, and relying on the intuition, is the best we can do for ourselves.

Postscript: The thoughts and insights above are my own. Compare with the Ken Wilber's theories of  the individual and collective evolution of consciousness, which is a creative process. Listen here in English. 

No comments:

Post a Comment