Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Art

Over a century ago, the inhabitants of Florence, Italy erected a gallery to house and protect a particular statue: Michelangelo’s David. In this seventeen-foot tall work of white marble, the people of Florence catch a glimpse of the Greatness. To be in the presence of this David, raises one’s own stature. The petty in us falls aside as we gaze upon the beautiful representation of David, sling and stone at the ready, about to enter the decisive battle against Goliath, competent, determined and courageous, yet with a furrowed brow of concern at the enormity and uncertainty of the task before him. The David in our own heart reaches toward that same Greatness, toward the destiny that is ours alone to risk and to create.

Master artists like Michelangelo, Bach, Beethoven, Brancusi, Rothko and others create works that uniquely embody intimations of the higher worlds and bestow the timeless on the time-bound. Our role in the presence of such art is to drop beneath the surface, both our own and that of the artwork, to enter that enduring quality of spirit that descends from the Source of all. The essence of great art lies beyond our thoughts about it and beyond our emotional responses to it. If we can listen to the music or view the painting from our own inner stillness, it may usher us into contact with the infinite stillness underlying all. Then, along with the artist, we share the touch of the Ineffable, which the finest art seeks to communicate. Great art occupies a very special place in our world, as a bridge to what lies beyond the creative.

Ordinary art, music, and literature, like the art that some of us as amateurs produce, has its source in the creative force. As such, the artistic endeavor brings us into contact with a profound aspect of ourselves, beyond our self-centered concerns, beyond our thoughts and emotions and into a real world, a world of boundless freedom. When we allow the creative to flow in us, served by the artistic skills we bring to the endeavor, we taste our own possibilities of being, action, and service. Entering the artistic struggle, shaping the materials according to the unknown image taking birth though us, we sometimes find a direct and utter satisfaction in the process. Meaningful work, such as creating art, can make our life meaningful, bring new order to the world, and fulfill our intended role.

 


     

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