A mystical interpretation of MAN as CREATOR. The love and anguish of the artist in his relationship to his work and his universe.
"I am God!" cries out the impassioned soul of an artist at the height of its creation. And it speaks truly. But from whence comes this unknown voice? And what is that "God" which the man or woman of brilliance feels and translates into art? Is this an echo of the primordial consciousness which existed at the beginning of all things, making itself heard through Man the megaphone? Man the human voice-box. The Child of genius speaking with His Master's Voice?
At this point in human evolution, this unknown quantity - the "God-force", is everything which our greatest and most illuminated minds have been able to perceive. And that is something which has been directly perceived, transcending the reasoning process, by the whole Self, not just the mind. What has been discovered, more often than not, died with the discoverer, for it has proved so far untranslatable. That which the most profound artists, yogis, mystics and delvers have experienced and understood, and have been able to conceptualize, is a vast, illimitable, spaceless Ocean of vital love vibrations, the basic cosmic emotion, which is energising the whole of the known universe.
Yet this is only paddling the shallows of what is yet to be known of the phenomenon the ecclesiastics readily rigidize by the term "God". And between That and Us there is no difference, for we are shot through with it in every molecule. At the ecstatic moments when an artist's consciousness and emotion as one, break through the mental veils of the illusory "reality" of the world he lives in, and become one with the cosmic emotion, he knows of no separation.
The fabled Russian ballet dancer, Nijinsky, threw himself into a mystic trance as he danced, his illumined soul rejoicing: "I am God! I am God! I am God!" Yet none could understand. Because he could not show anyone that he was God, he suffered agonies of the mind. The incomprehension of those around him and his lack of verbal expression drove him deeper and deeper into himself. His vision was Christlike, yet his mind could not cope with, nor rationalise his experiences, as his "Straight Society" schooling had taught him to do. The pressures of the straight-jacketed minds of those around him deranged his sensitive consciousness by their lack of understanding. He was put in an asylum.
This is the same symptomatic sadness characteristic of those innumerables filling the mental hospitals and psychiatric clinics today. The last thing a "mentally sick" person needs is a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, who is generally a typical product of the society and mental environment which caused the conditions of the patient in the first place. The analyst often succeeds in cramming his patient's head with head-shrinkers' terminology and clinical concepts, dulls his sensitivity to that which disturbed him, and sends him submissively back into the society which first sickened his soul.
Cosmic Health Centres are needed, where yogis and mystically tuned-in medics who understand the soulspheres, can lead the mentally overcome away from the fears of their inner-outerworld experiences and back to a love of life.
Had Nijinsky delved into mysticism or found a true guru, he would have become an illuminate. As it was, he was a finely tuned vehicle through which the cosmic emotion thrilled in his highest moments, electrifying his performance and captivating his audience. Neither of whom really understood what it was that was being communicated. Nijinsky's simple mind could not fully comprehend what his soul experienced. But as an artiste of the dance he was able to harness the power and express it in the only way he knew.
Although a consciously spiritual path may be alien to the creative man, the sensations of the universe humming through his core become outwardly reflected in his work. But that they are, in fact, merely reflections, has often caused an unfavourable emotional reaction without the artist knowing why. He tends to deprecate his own ability for not being able to express what he wants to say. Futility bites parasitically into his being and overcomes him. Burrowing deep, it feeds upon his intellect, dissecting and destroying his experiences and his confidence in the art he manifests. When this occurs, all art appears useless.
In those who have not understood the enormity of their task, which is to bridge the unbridgeable gulf between the finished work of art and the original impetus, it causes untold misery, death, or insanity in the oversensitive soul. This occurs even when the desire to bridge the gulf is unknown to the artist. And perhaps because this desire is unknown, and unreconciled. If the artist became aware of his dilemma, he could probably resolve the ache in his psyche through a deeper yoga with his inner and outer universe. Understanding his spirit in relationship to all things could still the artists' mental-emotional turbulence and lend depth to any artwork created.
Whatever the seeming reasons for the creation of an art work, be it spiritual insight, joy or sorrow, hate or agony, it is through the cosmic emotion of the creator that an art form is born. Or through the lack of it. Such earthly emotions as hate, anger, jealousy, or envy, show a sensory "blockage" in his psychic receiving mechanism. What then comes out in his work is the expression of "bodily" anger and the hurt of frustrated love vibrations grown awry.
Cosmic emotion is the "font-spring" of the arts. In the beginning was emotion, intrinsic, intangible - in metamorphosis there came a form - an art form: in the end - emotion was again evoked.
A man cannot rouse emotion with emotion. Emotion can thresh through him like a harvester and his face display placidity. Emotion is unseen. The result of emotion is manifest at will - visibly or audibly. To penetrate another with emotion man must resort to another medium. The tools he must use are tangible. His voice, his body, his paint, his stone, his flute, his mechanical letters and musical dots are all out of the sphere of emotion.
They display the effects of emotion, but not emotion itself. Man's greatest art is his feelings. It is a singularly personal art. Each man cultivates his art to his own requirements. His feelings are a private garden of unfathomable joys and sorrows. Here he can rest alone like nowhere else, or stretch his hand to reach his neighbour's plot and give or take those blooms which have the gift of growing in an alien soil.
Some men cultivate their Gardens to the bursting edges, and with blooms and seeds to spare - in happy need - look to their neighbour's land. Over their Gardens such men have the brightest Suns.
The Suns are called - Creativity: at each Garden's Noon they bathe it in voluptuous warmth. Noon is Inspiration. Men with such Suns are happiest at Noon and early working after.
Such men - these zealous Gardeners, these creators - are over-eager in throwing wide their Garden-gates to all and sundry. Such men should firstly look their neighbour long and keenly in the eye. Lucky is he who finds a fellow Cultivator nearby; whose sun is not a Garden Sun, but whose soul is mellow to the art. But such men's homes are far apart.
When the Given Fruit is taken by an idle neighbour - bitter are the seeds returned. The wastrel well may chaff and choke upon the juices - and thus sow the seeds of anguish in the Garden whence it came. Better the Gardener throw his pollens on the winds of unknown Gardens than plant a thorn with poisoned roots amid the tender blossoms of his own.
He should sound his neighbour's Garden-lore by offering a single unknown flower, and glimpse his Garden in return. If he sees a threadbare lawn and scrawny weeds, or a Garden growing slag and scrap-iron, rag-and-bone-man style, better he back-steps and locks his gates behind him. A lone flower lost to worthless hands is safer than a herd of eyeless mouths within his grounds - and idle mouths may wake the dormant Parasite - futility. Let him beware! His pollens all the winds may take, the Cultivator - his blooms and bulbs, but to share his most secret fruits he had best await another Gardener.
Man's greatest artistic achievement is a bloom from his Personal Garden growing in another.
The Arts are the "mystery of man" made visible and audible. A peep into his Personal Garden - no more than a peep. No more than a fragrant breath from the flowers of his personal art.
To the enlightened Cultivators, Lay-gardeners and other Gardener-creators, even this glimpse is overwhelming.
To the wastrels, idlers and rag-and-bone Gardeners, it is a chance to force entry, to carry off, to loll or to ignore, and to leave behind a rash of empty beer cans.
Christ was an artist and creator - a Gardener. He made his personal art - audible.
He opened his Garden-gates to all-comers - to the Cultivators and the rag-and-bone merchants. The Cultivators sat in joyful contemplation, the rag-and-bone rabble lolled and crushed and spat on the blooms. Some sneaked slyly off with gentle plants and grew them twisted and sickly. To these Christ closed the gates. They became angry that he should have such blooms and stove in his gates.
Christ crucified himself - by laying bare his Garden to the rabble. Bleeding for humanity has always been the death of the seer, the artist and visionary.
Vincent Van Gogh opened the gates of his Personal Garden with an oiled brush. He made his art - visible.
The people thought his Garden was a place to picnic in. They laughed in there and threw refuse about. Van Gogh closed the gates permanently. The Parasite woke in him and cried with its painful ugly voice. He destroyed his Sun with a bullet, and it fell into a Garden full of tears and blood. The crows were left the pickings - and they took them.
A true work of art is engendered in the first, by emotion. A work of art without a foundation of feeling - which nonetheless, has charm and beauty - is but a work of intellect and craftsmanship. Such a work generally produces cerebral applause and excitement, but rarely stirs the emotions.
A true work of art has far more chance of moving the observer, of planting a seed in his Garden. How can a flower emerge without a seed? The most perfect cut plant set without a root soon dies in any Garden.
The Gardener's soul throws a rainbow ring of passions over his Garden of Emotions. A sudden storm, or the silent calm after, may rouse its being into colour. The Garden surges with new light. The font-spring bubbles at the onset somewhere way down deep, and the liquid feeling rises through arterial roots to its highest bloom - his mind. There a vision or a theme comes into being, tended by the intellect, but ever drawing on the water of the Garden well to feed it. The bucket sounds deep the whole being, drawing heavily on the instincts, bodily intuition, love, hate, heart and soul - the essence of the Garden scents.
When the intellect remains faithful to its stalk and relies upon its sap, mindful that it is not a peacock lording over all the Garden - then all is well with the newborn artwork - and nothing in the Garden has been compromised.
The languid Garden morning is a time to bask, when the climbing Sun plays idly with the sleepy senses. When the Garden Sun strikes Noon full face, the bucket is hurled into the well. The bucket rises like a bounding ball though weighty with the whole being flung upwards to the blazing mind. The early afternoon finds the Gardener's love or hate - his intuitions and insights - hard at work in the Garden. When the fierceness of the Sun begins to wane, the intellect forces its cooling prongs into the earthwork.
Lucky is he who finishes his work whilst the Sun is still high.
Unlucky is he whose prongs of intellect clash or breaksoft the early spadework.
Woebegone is he who still toils when the Sun is going down on his Garden. Let him beware the evening cool and precise thrust of the intellect. He may find his Garden shorn too close and void of leaf, neat and prim and finicky.
Whenever I speak of an artist, I naturally mean the true artist: the sensitive creator, the feeling man, the man of genius.
A genius, I define: a person who by mastery of the limitations of his craft, is able to evoke a fragment of his power of feeling in the emotional fabric of others.
A creative Gardener is sensitive to his emotions to a high degree. He listens and hears; his body never fails to tell the truth, no matter what his mind imagines. Moments of revelation and wonder sound so deep in him at times that he experiences an overwhelming uplift of his whole being. If his Sun strikes Noon at such times, he can use colour, form, movement, word or sound to its fullest extent - to the limit of his ability and material. But even were he the most excellent technician and superb craftsman - the most green-fingered of Gardeners - whatever he could produce would be but a paltry smack of what he had felt.
This was Oscar Wilde's understanding when he said: "In my art I have put my ability, I have put genius into my life."
But this knowledge is the embryo of the Parasite - futility, to which, at one time or another, most creative people are prone:
"Why attempt then, to create? Why bother with anything? Accurate expression is impossible. All art is useless. My work can never be more than mediocre. Art is mediocrity. Art is a make-shift."
When the darkness of this storm dulls the Garden, the Parasite runs amuk, spreading its disease everywhere and the Gardener thrashes his plants in madness and despair. His graftings from the Garden make feeble hybrids in the form-dimension. His worldly works are but fragments of his personal art: dismembered petals brightly shamming life.
How can a writer render feeling on his page - when words are an alien medium to emotion?
How does the genius composer move so with his soaring themes - when the body of his blooms stays in his Garden? What roots lie in his soul untouched?
How often does the dancer despair when her faultless soul cannot dance alone and her full expression is limited, earthbound by the duress and discipline of her body?
Paint is not emotion. Yet inconceivably the artist wields it and weaves it to a tapestry of colour with the might to move. But for the Gardener himself it never moves enough. When the first elation at rearing such a flower soon subsides, to him the sap no longer runs in its body. He casts it on the limbo heap and rakes his plot again.
Can there ever be a bridge of translation between the emotion and the creation, channeling pure and direct the water of the Garden well?
If one is gored in the shoulder, the feeling is pain. To convey this agony on canvas, one can paint the blood and the gore and the shoulder - but one cannot paint the pain. The result is a representation of pain. In the shoulder there is pain. On the canvas there is paint.
In the artist there is futility. Only the most extra-sensory of onlookers may be so moved as to reconstruct pain in his body. The Arts are a pale image of his Garden; pale because they are images - when his Garden is imageless. Who wants my pale blooms! cries out his woken Parasite when the storm thrashes through him.
But when this cloud of winter passes on, his psychic "filters" are springcleaned and the cosmic emotion endlessly overflows his personal Garden, bursting at its borders. So the artist continues to create, ever translating the celestial vibrations into flowers of the form dimension. And seeking ways to keep that expressive love alive!
With a mental attitude of reverence towards creation as it is, and towards his own creation, the artist is then able to introduce a new element into his paint, stone, wood, words, music, what you will. The actual emotional vibration of the artist is capable of being instilled into the very atoms of the artwork. And it is this radiation which beams out at the beholder from a great work of art, penetrating his own Personal Garden, unblocking his psychic filters, and awakening his soul to the cosmic emotion.
But even that vibration is but a symbol of the artists' Garden. And what are symbols when there is a whole Garden to receive? Would that it were possible for him to open his Garden fully to the light. To show the All, and fling the wondrous blaze into the breasts of everyone. And if he could? What then? Would all art cease? What need would there be to create the substitutes? The world would soften to a slow sane pace again. And everyone would walk with eyes of Garden dew - in love.
Such love would be the essence of the universe transmitted through the body of Man. His creation being but the metamorphosis of his mind and soul experience into imagery. Thus "following in his Father's footsteps", Man knows himself as Creator, materialising his thoughts into form. As it is on the material plane, so it is in the cosmic realms. As above, so below.
Man is the microcosm, reflecting the vast processes of the cosmos. And as such, Man the creator himself, is but the materialisation of a thinking process, at this stage in the evolution of an immense Cosmic Consciousness taking shape.
Copyright © Muz
Murray 1968. Reprinted with permission.
Artwork copyright © 1968 John Hurford.
Visit the web site of Muz Murray here.
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