Thursday, June 7, 2012

Art & Spiritual Practice

Human beings fall rather easily into the consciousness of purposeful action: "I want this, so I will go get it." "I need this." "I have to do that." "If I don't do this, something bad will happen and I will die." Such is the basic murmur of mammalian consciousness. Spiritual practices (along with other basic lineaments of human culture, of course) are in part a set of techniques to free a person from unquestioning enslavement to that imperative mind. They allow us to look around, to step back and see things as they are, to apprehend thoughts, impulses, concepts as part of the larger whole. Art does this as well, and art plays a role in a human life that is probably not unrelated to spiritual ritual. Both stop you in your mammalian tracks and let you see and know your life through larger eyes and ears.

- Jane Hirshfield

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