It’s been said that there’s a thin line between genius and insanity. I think there is also a thin line between true awareness and psychotic delusion. I’ve also heard that the mystic swims in what the psychotic drowns in. I’m not sure which one Craig is. Probably a little of both.
Craig is a man who I owe my life to (and he’s not the only one). I won’t get into why that is. It’s not important for this post’s sake. Craig is a madman. He’s brilliant. Hyper-vocal, hyper-intellectual, and even hyper-vigilant. He could feel the real pulse of things. He saw the war that takes place in every run-down neighborhood. It wasn’t a visible war, rather it was a battle between light and dark. Waged for the souls of every junkie in every dope house.
Craig is fucking intense, is what Craig is.
Craig could talk to me about that stuff because he knew I could relate. I’m not a psychic. I’m not a medium. I don’t see auras. The angel Gabriel has never visited me.
But I know that there are forces that guide the seen and the known. And that’s the kind of stuff that fires me up. This idea of the realm that we cannot see with our eyes but is indeed inhabited by life. Life and energy that interacts with us.
And I don’t know if it’s all positive vibes or angels with flaming swords. I just know it’s powerful, and alive, and the divine is real. I hope I can open up this world that I’ve experienced with my writing. I hope I could one day even make a beginning on summing up some of the energy I’ve encountered while sitting with the sick in a detox facility, or ingesting psilocybin mushrooms with friends, or pouring sweat like a faucet in a Native American sweat lodge, or chatting with people possessed by methamphetamine and perhaps more.
If I could just bring a single piece of that magical living world into someone’s conscious life that has been dictated and enslaved by three dimensions, culture, a subject-and-object mentality, and over-identification with thought, I have done my job on this planet as far as I am concerned.
I’ve done a lot of things passionlessly. And I will continue to do some things passionlessly. Asleep with eyes wide open. Because that is a necessary part of this life and that’s okay.
But I never forget that realm of spirit that lives right alongside us. We can bring it out. Loving action brings it out. Giving and gratitude brings it out.
Writers, painters, and other artists, however, can conceptualize it and bring it right out into the open for the senses to take in. In the words of ethnobotanist and mystic Terence McKenna:
“The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. If artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.”
What Fires You Up?
You’re an artist. There’s a reason why you do what you do. I’m not always thrilled with what I write. I get writer’s block. I always, however, show up for myself to write daily (or at least almost daily), because I never know when I’m going to type out something that someone needs to read. Something that’s going to shoot electricity through me as I write, where it seems that I’m only a passive observer as my fingers wrap away at the keys and the words fly onto the screen.
So, why do you even write or paint what you do? What’s the point? This is my experience on how I reclaimed my fire as a writer.
- You may need to look at someone else’s art to find your fire. I recently read “Dubliners” by James Joyce and it was like a mutinously fresh wind that tore off all my stale wordplay and narrative tone. Look at paintings. Look up quotes on Google. Read authors past and present.
- Get connected. Dial yourself into a community of artists. It doesn’t need to be a huge commitment. Seek out your tribe online if nothing else. Take a class and exchange e-mails. If you find a group of the like-minded to make contributions to and to accept input from, your imagination will receive a kick-start!
- Keep creating. Keep writing. This isn’t rocket surgery as Ricky from Trailer Park Boys would say. Keep creating and you will find your soul. It might be in tiny pieces or larger. It might be all at once or more gradual. Keep creating and keep viewing the creations of other artists. I’ll end with a quote from the Tamil philosopher and metaphysicist Ananda Coomaraswamy and yet another quote from the immortal Terence McKenna.
“The artist is not a special kind of man, but every man is a special kind of artist.” – Ananda Coomaraswamy
“You are a divine being. You matter, you count. You come from realms of unimaginable power and light, and you will return to those realms.” – Terence McKenna
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