2023 – Transcendence in Artistic Expression

The wonderful moments during which human beings experience deeper states of mind are often catalyzed by something. These shifts in consciousness, which are tangential to the mundane, may arrive unbidden and are always welcome for the insights and quiet sense of peace they evoke. Though one can develop a readiness for such occurrences, it is an advanced awareness that can that can deliberately cultivate them. For many, this is beyond their current capability and some type of stimulus is required.

A solitary walk in the forest, gazing into the starlit night sky, feeding a newborn in the wee hours of the morning… countless moments of quietness can set the stage for a deeper than normal sense of awareness. Certainly, listening to a beautiful piece of music or viewing a masterful painting is well known for eliciting such states of mind. It is the latter that is focused upon here.

In the act of creating, the creator is often out of their mind. Impulses occur that must be followed and allowed to develop and this cannot happen when distracted by the mundane. It is this singular focus of attention that fosters a deep quietness that is conducive to the creative act. Further, it may be construed that such a state of mind is necessary for any truly creative act. To actively create, the creator must leave behind the so-called normal states of awareness. A mature artist may fluidly shift in and out of the creative state while the novice might happen onto it serendipitously.

An artifact that is the result of a transcendental state of mind carries the potential for a similar shift in consciousness on the part of others experiencing it. One could consider such an artifact as a souvenir from the artist’s inward journey during the act of creating. At least, the souvenir projects a sense of the place visited. If the artist is particularly skilled, the artifact will evoke the state of mind present, during its creation, in the experiencer.

When our society is questioning the value of artistic expression in this profit driven world, it should be realized that the topic of profit is extremely superficial and myopic. A single step deeper than such a surface level perspective exposes not only the value of such expression but the necessity for it. This is not intended as a justification for support for the arts, though it may be implied. Instead it is intended as an appreciation for the journey taken by the artist… one that is at times extremely difficult and may be out of sync with living a more mundane life in the day to day. Beyond appreciation, here is intended the promotion of an awareness of the potential for artistic expression for the human soul, as it were. Without such stimuli, we are relegated to a life of superficiality… one bereft of depth and lacking awareness of beauty and peace.

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