April 12, 2021

Creating Art

Our lives have become structured through logic and reason. We do things that make sense to us. We seek out things that have an obvious purpose and a clear benefit. When we complete a number of tasks in a day, we feel accomplished and satisfied. Comfort and predictability have become ideals to live by.

All of us do however; have a natural inclination where we have some talent, or more importantly – passion. Something that we are drawn to. Something that we wished we could do if only we had more time, or money, or direction. Very few of us will try though. And those who try will eventually find an excuse to stop. But there are always exceptions. And these are the ones who continue with sustained effort and unwavering faith. They don’t do it to be successful, because outward success can never be assured in anything. They do it because they can’t not do it. They realize that if they want to experience life in its purest form, creating art can transport them to that realm.

Creativity is a natural, spontaneous process. Creativity is Action in Stillness. It is when something that is beyond ourselves takes the wheel. Our only responsibility is to get out of the way. When we sit down to create, it should not be considered an effort or a chore. Effort is not valued in creativity. Nor will power. It is a joyous experience to create. If you sit down to create with an ulterior motive, you are creating resistance to the process. There can be no ulterior motive. No attachment to the result. The result will come, but creativity is always about the process.

Creativity means bringing something over from the other dimension. There are two planes of life. There is the logical, the rational, and the intellectual – the linear plane. It is what we can see, and touch and observe. And then there is the other plane. This is the dimension that human beings are still not able to understand. It is the unobserved, the illogical, when subject and object merge into one – this is the non-linear plane of life.

An individual needs to access the non-linear to bring their art into the observed world. There is a place that we can all go that goes beyond mental understanding. Any creative person has some access to this dimension. In order to create something fresh and new, you need to have access to this deeper dimension. If you only live in a content-based world, your work will always be a repetition of what has already been created.

If our art arises from a place of stillness it will touch that dimension in the other. How could it not? Maybe it will inspire others to create their own. Art is meant to be shared. When we create, we draw on personal experiences that we soon find are not personal at all. They are shared experiences that we encounter in our own unique and individual way. When art is fuelled by the creative power, it is relatable.

And what if you fail? Well if you fail, then the failure comes from not understanding the point. Because you cannot fail in creation. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting when he was alive, and only became famous after he died. Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Henry David Thoureau. They all were only recognized as great artists after their death. But they spent their lives fulfilling their passion.

You may fail to sell copies or become famous but you cannot fail in creation if the priority is the process. The true artist is not influenced by results. The true artist creates art – unapologetically.

The more you cling to your art, the more open you become to being hurt by it. Once you finish a piece, put it aside and begin to work on the next.

Creativity comes from a relaxed state of being. Steve Jobs often talked about how his greatest creative insights came unknowingly when he would go for his daily meditative walk. Maybe the insight would not come during the walk itself, but rather the walk allowed access to this deeper dimension so the creative thought could eventually manifest itself at a later time. Albert Einstein often talked about a power that underlies everything else in the Universe. It is not unusual to hear great artists or writers be cautious in taking personal credit for their work. Because they know that their creation was not completed through their egoic self. Rather what they really had to learn was how to get out of their own way, so the art could create itself.

No great artist has not got lost in their work. It’s like those times that you can’t describe when you feel your mind turning off and being in some sort of zone. You can’t explain it in words because no words seem to fit or be able to do the feeling justice. Maybe it happens when you are playing a sport and you get so caught up in the game that time seems to cease and all that matters is the next moment. Effort is not being exerted and yet actions still seem to come. This is true action. Action without the need for a result. Of course, on some level you know that the result matters but you also become aware that clinging to that notion will only be a hindrance.

The art of creating makes our days better. Fuller. More engaged. More focused. Because it spills into the rest of our lives. If we learn the art of creation, it does not have to stop with your work. You can allow the process to overflow into your life. Your life can become a work of art. By viewing your life as a work of art, you become infatuated with the mere idea of existence and fulfilling your responsibility when you are here.

Life without exception is grateful for creation. What is life without creation? Your work might touch a million lives. Or maybe ten lives. Or maybe just your life. But it will touch life. And that is what is most important.

Michael Bains

Currently 29, he lives in the Yaletown district of Vancouver. He enjoys staying physically active and is an avid reader and writer. Hooped is his first published novel.