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Steps inside the artist journey

October 25th, 2013

I've been on a quest throughout the years and especially most recently to find something in my life that I'm missing. I've tried to fill a void in my past with things (clothes, trinkets, alcohol, food) but every time I do, I realize it's just not enough. It's never enough. I'm not particularly a religious person, although Catholic, have not attended mass in years. The older I get, I realize, nothing external is going to do it for me. The quest that I've been on lately is internal. I feel I'm going in another direction, instead of outward, it's inward I'm headed. I happened to find a book that really speaks to me on this journey and it's called 'Be Here Now' by Ram Dass. I saw a documentary on this man and his life experience so far, on Netflix and was eager to hear his message. It's definitely shaping my life lately and given me much wisdom and also awakened and opened my heart. It has shown me, what I've been searching for, was here all along. Here is a passage from the book of an ancient story (late 4th century BC) from Chinese Philosopher, Chuang Tzu. This speaks to me as an artist and the process for creation:

"Ch'ing, the chief carpenter, was carving wood into a stand for musical instruments. When finished, the work appeared to those who saw it as though of supernatural execution; and the Prince of Lu asked him, saying, 'What mystery is there in your art?'

'No mystery, Your Highness,' replied Ch'ing. 'And yet there is something. When I am about to make such a stand, I guard against any diminution of my vital power. I first reduce my mind to absolute quiescence. Three days in this condition, and I become oblivious of any reward to be gained. Five days, and I become oblivious of any fame to be acquired. Seven days and I become unconscious of my four limbs and my physical frame. Then, with no thought of the Court present in my mind, my skill becomes concentrated, and all disturbing elements from without are gone. I enter some mountain forest, I search for the suitable tree, It contains the form required, which is afterwards elaborated. I see the stand in my mind's eye,and then set to work. Beyond that there is nothing. I bring my own native capacity into the relation with that of the wood. What was suspected to be of supernatural execution in my work was due solely to this." -Chuang Tzu

I keep following this path of art and I'm realizing it's giving me so much more back in return. It's a deeper understanding for how it all is. Hope you enjoyed the story.