It’s often said that art can teach us how to live. This is true, yet it’s also commonly misinterpreted. The product of art, what we call the photograph, or the lyric, or the dance, doesn’t teach us how to live. The product of art, these artifacts, can show us how someone ELSE lived.
On the other hand, the making of art (which is REALLY where art is), can teach us how to live.
This process, the making of art, illustrates how we might live; how we might be fully present, engaged, conscious. More fully alive.
The act of creating is a portal by which we might be connected with creation itself. That’s how we should live.
For most of us regular, “non-Dalai Lama” folks, the process of making art is one of the very few things we do where we might experience that realm of consciousness and presence. Making love might be another. I think sport, what athletes call being “in the zone” references that same state of being. A connection with the moment so powerful we’re aware of nothing else but that moment. Aware of nothing else, because there is nothing else, nothing but the present.
This is how to live. Conscious, alert and engaged. Fully present. The gift art holds is not for audience, but for ourselves, those who practice it. Most of us rarely acknowledge that.
In looking through the viewfinder, we look at ourselves; at our world, our lives, our experience. The moment of us. Every picture we take is a self portrait. The process of making those photographs, of composing and playing that music, is the process of living, of being alive. It’s the process of being ourselves. The process of creating, of creation; that’s the process of the universe itself.
Art doesn’t simply teach us how to live, and illustrate our experiences and moments in time. Art is life. It’s who we are. Art is Creation.