What is Art as A Spiritual Practice?

I'm not one for labels, because I see the Universe as fluid: what was yesterday, might be different today and tomorrow. Our lives are one long, changing journey. Think of yourself at 18, and then think of yourself now. Is there a difference in what you believe in? In how you think? In how you react to the world around you? In what your goals and ambitions are? The world is not static, unless we allow it to be. 

What is Art as A Spiritual Practice?

Definitions. They can be fluid also. How do I, or you, define a spiritual practice?

Spiritual doesn't need to be connected to a religion or any sort of deities. In a grand sense, spirituality is an awe about just being here. It's also a search for meaning and understanding of being here. Further, it's a search for connection: how do we fit into all of this? 

How does art fit into all of this?

I see my art as a search for meaning and understanding. I also see it as a search for a connection to the Universe. These are the same themes I find in spirituality. But art as itself is just a process. I need to give it the meaning, the connection. I need to fuse it with my spirituality.

Art as product

Why do you create? Some people see an opportunity. For them art is a process: “I'll do this because I can become rich/famous/etc.” There is a sense of utility about this type of creation. See a need. Fill it. Repeat. Popular music is often like this, with producers thinking, “Boy bands seem to be big, let's create another boy band because we can sell recordings and make some money.” When boy bands are no longer popular, they chase the next new thing.

Art as a spiritual practice doesn't see the world through this external lens. It sees the world through an internal lens. “I'll create this because I must. I don't care if others don't like it, I need to create it for myself.” Sure I'd like to have both commercial and artistic success, but that doesn't drive me to create. There is no carrot on a stick for me to go after. I create, whether it's writing, taking photos, making music, cooking, gardening, etc., because I need to do it. While success is nice, it's not necessary for me to keep creating. 

And I don't look for the latest trends or fashions to follow. I look for what means something to me. My art is always a search for meaning first. Anything else is secondary. Let's look at my music.

Art as spirituality

Music to me is always a search. I'm not looking to recreate what I've heard before, or what I've done before, but I'm seeking those sounds and rhythms I've never heard or experienced. I can look back over my past 10, 15, or 20 years and see a definite movement into new musical territory. What I do today is different than what I did then. Even if the large scale outward appearance may seem the same, the inner microcosm and the subtle details have changed and evolved. I see my process as always trying to refine what I do.

So how does this connect with spirituality? In every way. They are inseparable. What I do, to me, is sacred (defined as, regarded with great respect and reverence). 

There is great meaning in every gesture I do. 

There is importance. 
There is connection. 
There is lineage.

These are ideas we will explore on this journey.

~ MB


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