In this western culture there are strong stereotypical impressions of artists, actors, dancers, and musicians who live the life. The starving artist, the drug and/or angst ridden genius, the temperamental A type creator whose displays of alpha chest thumping are forgiven with license – we recognize these characters. Artistic success, Hollywood style, does indeed come at a great price. To help in our indoctrination we can stand on line at a grocery store checkout counter and check out the tabloids. Whether by accident or design, the impressions of food are linked to the food of impressions with a powerful result, evidently, otherwise the practice would not continue. The Hollywood culture has burned its messages upon our psyche like a branding iron marking cattle. And it has been presented to me by one whose information I trust that at the root of this culture is the porn industry. Sex is a bottom line. And the pursuit of money is at the root of all evil.
Money is not the root of all evil, its pursuit is. Sex is not bad, nor good, nor anything in particular – sex is sex. Like many things inherent in our nature, there is a possibility of using sex for a much higher purpose, in a completely different way than what this culture has taught by default. And artistic creation is the same – it has the potential of serving a much greater purpose than self expression or even the titillation of an audience’s pleasure center.
Growing up, I fully grazed in the Hollywood pasture of impressions to live and die for. It is so interesting to see how the rebellion experienced as a teenager, being so tied into what Hollywood presented, served as a means of indoctrination. The theater training I received seemed to revel in the dark side emotions of the New York method actor. The conversations I had over multiple cups of coffee and cigarettes with fellow artists at the Art Students League in NYC revolved around angst ridden issues of the creative process in a cruel world. Negative reinforcement is the stuff of indoctrination into the dream. It all feeds self importance, and the one who overcomes the system’s built in resistance and climbs to the top has learned how to be self important in a way that serves the machinery.
I remember reading an article long ago by a film maker who said that the way cinema had developed, particularly the Hollywood culture cinema, served to put people to sleep. To have an awakened cinema one would have to find ways of throwing the attention that is taken up in the hypnosis of the story line back into the faces of the audience. In other words, for conscious film making, some cinematic device needs to awaken people to the fact that they are alive sitting there watching a movie. Reversal of the reality making pump is what is being described here. Moreover, to really do the job, a new language would have to be developed given how well molded our language is around the maintenance of sleep, hypnosis.
This film maker had discovered through his art form the inherent potential for awakening or putting to sleep present in the practice. This is one way creative endeavor is used within the context of an esoteric school, as a means of showing sleep, as a means of awakening. A new language is created around school life; words reflect common experience of awakening and seeing sleep in school conditions. Certain impressions have been intentionally imprinted and each in the group will bear that imprint. Evolution as I know it is a series of very difficult experiences out o f which one emerges somehow changed toward the evolutionary goal of movement into spirit. One has dropped something no longer useful, or acquired a new skill, or some combination thereof which renders one of more use to the underlying factors that engender evolutionary response. In a school conditions are created that are optimum to this process of renunciation of the life of the dream.
My experience of art making since my exposure to the school has been extraordinarily fulfilling, and continues to be. But this fulfillment has been at the expense of what was once considered fulfillment. In the created inner culture of a school circle one is acknowledged to the degree one can die. There is much laughter that comes in the open space created through the polishing process of the school’s wind and water way. The bonds one knows with other members – like a school of fish who travel together, are beyond familial. They are not based on friendship as one knows friendship typically, there is a sense of family, of tribe, but it is not in the usual sense. When the group gathers, as it does on Mondays during band practice, from time to time something, a wind blows through that celebrates these bonds, sometimes one can feel the whole breathing.
The fulfillment is more tribally oriented. One has a function in the whole, and it is dissolution into this function where glory is tasted. The glory is in the dissolution itself, in the dying into a greater whole. One experiences individuality in this dissolution. Repeated experience teaches respect for the individuality that is each part, and the individuality of the greater whole beyond the sum total of the parts.
With certain energetic configurations that are made possible when many are gathered together for objective creativity, the objective being generally one of awakening, one gains a perspective through the new perceptual tools given when experiencing a different morphology. The voyaging senses that enable one to see and feel through a different morphology, offer fresh impressions that support movement away from self expression. In a way, the more I experience myself as a conglomerate, the more individual I seem to become.
This individuality can sometimes translate into a particular quality of loneliness that has nothing to do with the presence or absence of people. There is a growing recognition of the futility of ordinary pursuit, and with that a corresponding disengagement of appetite for the motivational sensations that used to give the thrill of the ride. To move through the emptiness requires fresh intention.
Let’s get back to the beginning of this story, about art and the imprints made upon me prior to and after school exposure. I see the melancholy that sometimes accompanies loss of accomplishment as I used to know it has its roots in the Hollywood backed dream. A simple practicing artist knows the success of living in accordance with their deepest inclination, ideally. The practicing artist is just that, a practicing artist or musician or actress or dancer, whatever…the practicing person just is and it is sufficient. To steep myself into the “this is enough” of my life when my well seems dry can be tough. Falling into deeper sleep, I look to where there is lack. There I see lack of widespread recognition as an artist, for example. This is one thing I was conditioned to see as a sign of success, so there is lack to negatively reinforce the dream in which I strive for external success, thereby feeding the reality pump my reality making electrical juice.
I am fortunate to have a number of impressions in place to counter this way of thinking and being. A Rumi line, a Gold aphorism, an experience in Band practice, a sign and symbol from the universe will often come along quickly to take the wind from the sails of my misery. The yes and no of these situations eventually bring me to the pointless place of zero. The patient treading of water while one is waiting for the next wave can prove challenging. There are issues to address when one is a long distance runner. When you’ve been at this for a long time, there are times when one is waiting for the build-up of the next wave. Nature does not provide the energy for sustaining oneself in this work; the energy must come from a greater source of will and love. Tapping into this source of love and will beyond the interests of self importance is a subject of the heart. Tune in, tonight, Journey to the Heart on GorebaggTV at 6pm PST.