Archive for Music

Art and Facing Darkness

Last night A.R. Rahman won an Oscar for Best Original Song and this is what he said:

All my life I have had a choice of hate and love. I chose love and I’m here.

This is a powerful statement on many levels. Today I’ll focus on just one: every time an artist sits down to work they choose love. Even if they are expressing pain or anger or darkness they are facilitating the presence of the Divine Artist on Earth. They tap into the fecund well of Divine Creativity and allow it to flow into the world.

Matthew Fox, founder of creation spirituality, describes the same thing slightly differently:

The artist names holy “isness” in all its forms—joyful and beautiful, sad and tragic. We need the artist to name our common experience of “isness” —to tell us when “isness” has just passed by and to assist us in expressing our gratitude.

The artist opens the door to the present moment which is the only place to truly experience of the Divine. It is silly to try and pretend that darkness does not exist in the world, that we could exist without sadness, anger or pain. Artists help us to name and experience these emotions, this is what Fox means when he says “isness”- to locate these feelings in the universal experience. Their part in the never-ending upward spiral toward the Universal Maker which snakes from light to dark and back again.

Art helps us to stop resisting our emotions and the present moment. When standing in front of a work of art, we breath and absorb the moment. We experience our feelings. We project our personal issues and see them reflected back safely. This process allows us to move forward out of darkness instead of being stuck there. By experiencing the darkness in our lives we are released from it, by resisting it we are trapped. A work of art can help us face our darkness and this is an act of love. Art acts a loving midwife to the soul urging us onward in our spiritual development.

A.R. Rahman:

Via Creativa?

More from Fakhruddin ‘Iraqi

Many and disparate waves do not make the sea a multiplicity; no more do the Names make the Named more than One. When the sea breathes they call it mist; when mist piles up they call it clouds. It falls again, they name it rain; it gathers itself and rejoins the sea. And it is now the same sea it ever was.

So Ocean is Ocean
As it was in Eternity,
Contingent beings
But its waves and currents.
Do not let the ripples
And mists of the worlds
Veil you from Him
Who takes form within these veils. (Jandi)

Beginninglessness is the depth unfathomed, Endlessness the shores of this Ocean.


Listen, riffraff:
Do you want to be ALL?
Then go,
Go and become NOTHING (p.78)

Amazing via negativa poetry. Until yesterday, the via negativa was my dearest desire. But I have been watching a number of Matthew Fox videos on youtube and he has opened my eyes to a new idea: the via creativa. Fox sees the via creativa as a path to the One through creative acts, which, is the whole topic of this blog! He sees the via positiva (also sometimes called the affirmative way) and the via negativa as building blocks to the via creativa. It’s a fascinating idea and I do feel the beauty in the world and the emptiness both while making art.

I will sit with this and perhaps I may embark upon a new path? Or perhaps this is the path I am already on…