Wednesday, December 22, 2010


When you get to a point in the telling of your story where you think, "That part is boring and unnecessary. I’m going to skip over that," and there is an unfulfilled, disconnected feeling inside you, that usually means that you are so judging yourself for the unwritten part--the part you lived, or now perceive--that you would just as soon turn away from it. But the remedy is not in diminishing its importance; it is compassion, invariably it is compassion for yourself. Somewhere in the original experience and your subsequent interpretation of it, you judged yourself, you rejected yourself; in shame, you don't want anyone else to see, not even you.

And that is the paradox of this way of writing. For the story that you have cast out seeks to be taken back in, embraced by your compassionate seeing and heart. To hold yourself within to the unloved experience with as soft and kind a heart as you can. That is what allows the details that are blanked out to come into focus, the words to stream up out of your heart. And as you cradle yourself, the energies locked inside that judged experience come out in the writing and infuse your being. Now you have the missing piece of writing and a missing piece of your being back.

To help the process of self-compassion come about, why not use the Rose Press Flower Essence Remedy for Writers, "Self-Compassion: Rewriting the Past." Sometimes what we write brings up old, unforgiven places in our pasts. Writing a book offers a wonderful opportunity to go back into the same events, feeling tones, or patterns in service of the story ~ but now with the compassion you are capable of in present time. "A writer gets to live twice," it's been said: "once when you have the experience, and again when you write about it. Self-Compassion: Rewriting the Past Flower Essence Remedy allows you to live deeply and fully by mining your past for its hidden gems and bringing them into the present, thus benefiting your actual life as much as it does your writing.

$15 for a 1/2-oz. dropper bottle, available from Rose Press:; by emailing; or by calling 510/653-ROSE (510/653-7673).  
For a healing experience of writing ~ and living.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More on art, the artist's process, and the art that comes out of it, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hardly had I finished posting the blog just below when I read more from that same volume by Hazrat Inayat Khan which I quoted there, and it so captured my soul and imagination that I wanted to share it, too, with you. So here are some further quotes from this great Sufi master and teacher. Although he is writing about sculpture, here, it is simple to translate the essence of his thought to include deep writing. As you read, see what is moved and uplifted in you. If you come away with a sense of recognition ~ or even longing ~ then his writing is successful in awakening, and nourishing, your soul.

When we come to the art of sculpture today, it seems as if the artist is searching; he is trying to reach something that he knows is absent. The soul of the sculptor is seeking for something that seems lost. First of all, by lack of appreciation around him, the artist is discouraged. Next, he is put in the midst of the business world; and the relief which should be given to the heart of the artist, so that he may think of art and nothing else, is not to be found today. There was not so much thought of competition in ancient times; there was not a fixed price for art. Art was invaluable. The admirers of ancient art never considered a work of art as having a fixed price. They always thought that they could never give enough for real art. In that way, art progressed; it was admired.

Besides, the direction of art today is not of the same nature as in ancient times. The direction of ancient art was towards spiritual realization. Love, harmony, and beauty were seen by the artist in their highest aspects. And when the artist loses that direction, then he comes down to earth; instead of going upward, he is going downward....

The scientist is sooner contented with what little he discovers, but the better the work of art, the more the artist feels that there is something still missing; his heart is longing all through his life to produce something more than that. Consciously or unconsciously, every artist is craving for that something which is missing. And if this goes on, no doubt the artist will find it; and on the day when the mystery is found, art will again become a language.

The meditative quality and the practice of concentration should be developed in art, and also the higher ideal; but the material world forms a barrier to all these. It stands in the way of the artist's progress. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that a real artist is always spiritually inclined; he is only hindered by the world, and therefore it is possible that tomorrow the art of sculpture will evolve. It will evolve in fineness and in beauty, and sculptors will also develop their imagery. Then art will culminate in that greatest of achievements, when the artist will really be able to produce a living statue.

The motive behind the whole of creation is to put life into everything. That is its sole objective. In other words, every rock is longing for the day when it will burst out as a volcano, and when all that is valuable in it will come out. Sulfur, diamonds, gold, and silver; everything that is in its heart must come out one day. That is its purpose.

Every tree is longing for the day when it will bear fruit. Love expresses itself through every channel, and it manifests outwardly in order that God may see Himself face to face. And so it is with a work of art. People think that it is the artist who has made it; in reality, it is God who has perfected it. As it is God's pleasure to create the world, so it is also God's pleasure to create through pen and brush and chisel, to give life to what is lifeless. If there is life, it is God. And what is God? God is love, and thus the desire of that love is to manifest in the form of beauty in the realm of art. 

[From the book, Sufi Mysticism: Art Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, by Hazrat Inayat Khan]

"When the Artist Loses Himself in His Art, Then the Art Comes to Life"

The great Sufi mystic and teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, was also a great musician, and he often wrote about art as a mystical path of union with the Divine. Below is a quotation from among his writings that addresses the process of what it is to become fully engaged with the process of bringing forth what is in you: the art that comes out of it, and the inner experience of wholeness.

I hope you will feel as blessed by this quotation as I do. Hazrat Inayat Khan's message and writings have certainly influenced my own experiences of deep Being, deep writing, and my writings about deep writing. 

When the artist loses himself in his art,
then the art comes to life.

One must not only be an artist; one must become art itself. Then to the one who is so absorbed in his work that he forgets himself, that capacity, that intuition, that skill will come naturally. He begins to do wonders, and his art becomes a perfect expression of what he had in mind. ...  People think that it is the artist who has made it; in reality, it is God who has perfected it. As it is God's pleasure to create the world, so it is also God's pleasure to create through pen and brush and chisel, to give life to what is lifeless.

The artist who has arrived at some perfection in his art, whatever his art may be, will come to realize that it is not he who ever achieved anything; it is someone else who came forward every time. And when the artist produces a perfect thing, he finds it difficult to imagine that it has been produced by him. He can do nothing but bow his head in humility before that unseen power and wisdom which takes his body, his heart, his brain, and his eyes as its instrument. Whenever beauty is produced in art, be it music, or poetry, or painting, or writing, or anything else, one must never think that man produced it. It is through man that God completes His creation. Thus there is nothing that is done in this world or in heaven that is not divine immanence, which is not divine creation. ...

What is art? Art is the creation of beauty in whatever form it is created. As long as an artist thinks that whatever he creates in the form of art is his own creation, and as long as he is vain about his creation, he has not learned true art. True art can only come on one condition, and that is that the artist forgets himself -- that he forgets himself in the vision of beauty. ... We are vehicles or instruments that respond. If we respond to goodness, goodness becomes our property. If we respond to evil, then evil becomes our property. If we respond to love, then love becomes our possession. 

(From the book, Sufi Mysticism: Art Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, by Hazrat Inayat Khan)