“There can be no spirituality without art. Besides silence, art is the language that we have for expressing our deep, mystical experiences—awe, wonder, gratitude, grief, and suffering. This is what art is for: to help us name these deeply human, but universal, experiences.”
This quote resonates so deeply with what I am trying to express with Creative Awakening Now. I fully agree that art is an essential element in the comprehension of the spiritual dimension. Words simply can’t capture the essence of what is going on in those inner spaces. Try as we may, explanations will only lead us in circles that never make it to the center. If we really want to express the inexpressible, what we need is a detour-one that will lead us off the predictable track and will shock us with a new perspective. Creativity is that detour.
Though it might seem like an extreme statement, (There can be no spirituality without art) I would seriously have to agree with it. I believe that art in itself is probably the only reason we are even able to talk about spiritual things. Aside from a direct experience-which is the catalyst for expression-the concept of a mystical or religious experience can only be expressed through the language of creativity. Think about the parables of Jesus or the poetry of Rumi or the endless verses of Hari Krishna chanted by devotees all over the world. These artistic approaches to expressing the divine are not just clever ways of attracting a following, they are a pouring forth of the soul. They are the trickling down of the spirit through the medium of a human heart.
This kind of expression goes far beyond any sort of self-serving intentions or shallow reasoning. This kind of expression comes from a place of need. It is produced, not out of a desire to convert or to convince others, but out of an inability to restrain it. It is like the leaves sprouting from a tree at the height of spring; nothing is going to stop it. The religious attitude of compartmentalization and rigidity is something that came after the fact.
This is the true power of art. It is a voice of the spirit. It is a passionate urge that lies within each and every one of us and is limited only by our ability to open up to it. We are like the tree that erupts with unspeakable beauty as a matter of course. The essence of spirituality is always within us, just waiting to be expressed in a brand new way. Its like what Thomas Aquinas said, “The same spirit that hovered over the waters of the beginning of creation hovers over the mind of the artist at work.”