KNow Thyself: a Manifesto of play
While most therapy would rarely be considered "art", most art can easily be experienced in ways that are deeply therapeutic to the body, mind and soul. This imaginative thought process, when taken to it's logical conclusion, acts as a silvery thread that anyone can follow deeper, and deeper, and deeper still, all the way back into oneself and on even further into the soul of the world where, paradoxically, one arrives back at the beginning only nothing like what one originally started out as...
This is the life long journey of transformation through recreation that poets, artists, mystics, plants, minerals, planets, galaxies and so many living things know intrinsically but that we everyday humans must consciously choose to engage in because we find that when we do, change our minds and engage, we join in the grand drama of creation as players in a vast cosmic play.
The Medicinal Arts comprise a vast but loosely defined world of both inner and outer practices, pathways, wisdom traditions, crafts, skills, aptitudes and capacities that once engaged can and will, if approached with sincerity and a willing heart - change your life and your world forever. It's loosely defined only because so much of the honest path is ineffable and impossible to encapsulate in just words. It must be experienced directly and then lived. It's loosely defined because the path emerges as you choose each step and it is, in the end as it should be, only for you to define what your medicine is and how to take it.
The Medicinal Arts exist to this day as an ageless river of wisdom that nourishes the soul of humanity and the world.
Seek less. Create more. Experience everything. Believe nothing. The true invitation reverberating from the beating heart of The Medicinal Arts is one of a life lived as The Artist - not as a seeker, not as an architect, not the student, the child nor the master, not even as The Lover. Instead, one walks the razors edge, eternally curious and forever in beginners mind, simply and beautifully as Creation Is so The Artist Is.
To begin, we observe. We watch and we listen. We receive. We witness. We appreciate (wash, rinse, repeat). We begin to notice that a work of discovery or the offering up of some skill or talent, a honing and development of a state of excellence with attention or nurturing a genius within is a life long process. We begin to appreciate the magnitude of the reality of transforming anything, especially the Human Ego. And yet we notice that everything is effortlessly transforming all the time. The making of a work of art becomes medicinal be(cause) it transforms the maker as well as the world it was made in through the sheer act of it's creation. In this view there isn't much that isn't a form of medicine for us, if we want it to be. A sort of play of mindfulness. A trick, to make of oneself a work of art. Now that's quite something!
This happens all the time - creation is always creating freely, wantonly, unashamedly. What makes any act of creation a Medicinal Art is the quality of attention one has before, during and after as Creation. The Medicinal Arts ultimately serve to make of us, The Clay. To make of us, The Vessel. To make of us, The Fire. To make of us, The Art. Starting, of course, with what we think we are doing right now or making right now or creating in each and every moment, both inside and outside of ourselves. This observing eventually becomes the movement within that changes us on the inside and then back again to the outside. And on and on until circle draws itself complete and there's no separation between the inner and outer world. By first observing this as a natural function of creation and then eventually finding delight in participating in this movement again and again, at higher and higher levels of less ego-centeredness, we become Free.
There certainly are clearly defined paths on this path of no paths. There certainly are plenty of teachers looking to teach themselves to others. In this art of being human, there's simply no one path for everyone and what a blessing that truly is. The shear magnitude of the possible paths of creation is awe inspiring. Why take any of them? Why not let the path emerge behind you? Why seek to follow and why seek followers?
What a rare Freedom to find oneself without any prescribed path, living Radiantly True in creation just as Creation Is.
Sadly, we aren't given over to that kind of Freedom too easily. For any of us it's a hard won wisdom, born of daily practice and a lot of painful getting over ourselves that age and experience tends to deliver us clean smack into whether we like it or not. Perhaps that's the function of our time here, to wear us down and see us remade...
The Medicinal Arts are for those who hear the artful call of Creation and choose to follow the silvery thread through the labyrinth of life. For those who remake the labyrinth with each and every choice. For those intrepid explorers who choose to make their lives their own. Who will take great risks on their own behalf, on behalf of Living As Creation Is. For those who observe that choice is the engine of our evolution and find that seductive. For those who care less about the "how" and "why" more about the "what".
It's about observing all of this life within us and around us from the darkest shadows and into the brightest lights and then choosing, with each breath to keep playing, making, creating and recreating just for the sheer pleasure, power and freedom that's experienced in the radical act of making it all up and in return, being remade up by it all.
America is a word with a few possible sacred etymological meanings. Sacred etymology looks for the hidden meaning in words drawing from patterns in ancient source languages. America as a word, from this perspective, means the "the beloved eternal spirit" or "the eternal spirit that is loved". It can also be a combination of Yin and Yang expressed as the meaning "moon eagle". With this in mind one can walk the razors edge following the silvery thread of spirit through all life and within all things. It is uniquely American, this Syncretic, Heremtic, Integral and very Alexandrian approach to living life as Art. It also supremely Romantic and it's an impossible dream...
Wanderer Above The Sea Fog - C.D. Friedrich