In Search of the Creator
To know much, you have to experience much. If you want depth, you must dig deep.
What are you capable of? Do you have deep feelings that beckon you to worlds not yet discovered? Yes? What have you done about it? Are you willing to persevere against the torrential typhoon of conformity to reach the inner calm inside heaven’s gate?
You are already in possession of two divine gifts: The power of thought and the power of will. Used to empower your self and others, these combined forces enable you to choose, to change your mind, to raise your standard, to reveal unlimited and glorious realities in, as Deepak Chopra elegantly expresses it, “the field of all possibilities.”
To live a robust and conscious existence, your primary task is to discover your purpose in life, or dharma in the parlance of Hinduism. To know why you are here is evolutionary. Without meaning, there is no purpose. For the brave pilgrim this mission supersedes all other considerations. No outside authority can tell you what that purpose is because the answer lies within you and the will of the Great Creator—always an equal partner. Anyone with unbending intent to find out what his purpose is cannot fail.
An Open Channel
If you have a fire in the belly, there is a direct means of discovering your dharma: You must seek out and make personal contact with God. Without a searing commitment, there is only mediocrity and the passing of time. There are no maps of this terrain, only a moral compass and a direction illuminated by desire. There is no telling when or under what circumstances this connection will happen.
There is, however, an infallible and marvelous metaphysical mechanism to guide you called intuition, which is the instantaneous link between you and the Cosmic Mind. When this bond between created and Creator occurs, travelers on this wavelength experience firsthand knowledge of their unique abilities, their dharma. Although we can’t see radio waves, for example, we certainly can hear them. Similarly, tuned into the pure channel of intuition, unencumbered by the static, noise, and misinformation of ideology, we learn God is broadcasting all the time.
A Kafka Mirror
In “The Metamorphosis,” Franz Kafka shocked readers with a grotesque fable about a man who wakes up one morning to discover he has been transformed into an insect, which dovetails with the Buddhist world view of rebirth, or transmigration of the soul. Is this possible? The great philosopher Voltaire wrote that the doctrine of reincarnation is “neither absurd nor useless,” adding, “It is not more surprising to be born twice than once.” Nightmarish at first glance, Kafka’s born again parable is about waking up, to become self-aware and see your self as you are without illusion and the dulling veneer of ingrained social conditioning imposed by the establishment.
Instead of Kafka’s rude awakening, consider another scenario. Imagine your eyes open one morning to an awesome realization. Somehow, while you were sleeping, you acquired a gift, a direct and continuous feed, from the Cosmic Mind. Envision the nature of your miracle. See it as a complete, penetrating, and organic knowing. What would your dream be? Play the violin as a virtuoso; sing opera as a diva; compose with the genius verve of Mozart; or create art with the inner necessity, comprehension, and feeling that fueled Gauguin, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Modigliani, Picasso, and other artists of their caliber, known and unknown. You have been given a gift and there is apparently no rational explanation for how it got there.
Many Are Called
How would you react? Your fantastic encounter with the divine adamantly nudges you to reevaluate your own preconceived thoughts and beliefs. Would other people understand? Would you understand? People would certainly use their yardsticks to measure your far out experience, which was light years beyond any conventional sphere of learning. In a world desensitized by and insatiable for hype, it would be easier for others to accept that aliens had abducted you. The truth is not out there; it is inside you.
Talent demands dedication. Material success, especially in the arts, requires access to often elusive opportunity. Would you say “yes” or “no” to such a life-altering gift? How many of us have heard our intuition, our souls whispering God’s guidance to our hearts? How many of us have been given a shot at finding our meaning in this physical reality? When the opportunity to elevate ourselves revealed itself in that magic moment, how many of us were willing to enter the unknown, and pay the price of admission, whatever the cost? Many are called, few choose to go.
What on earth would you do?
In 1994, early one fall day in Laurel Canyon up high in the Hollywood Hills of LA, my eyes sprung open to the most extraordinary event of my existence. Seemingly overnight, I had acquired an intuitive and total comprehension of art, where it comes from and how to create it. The ecstasy of understanding came directly from the Cosmic Mind. The season was right; this was my moment of truth. I had made personal contact with God. It was as if I were standing under a gentle mountain waterfall and all my past tribulations were being washed away like so much karmic residue. I had never felt so clean. I decided to keep this event quiet and began the work of creating art every day.
Merlin, I Presume
As the collective unconscious, the wellspring of art, bubbled vibrantly within me, I could see the presence of the Creator in everything that surrounded me. When I did art, I was in a timeless place. One night at the easel I was in a mist on Avalon and could sense the essence of Arthur who had freed the sword Excalibur that had been magically fixed in a stone. As only the rightful heir to the throne of England could pull the enchanted sword from the rock, Arthur became the once and future king—fulfilling his dharma. My Excalibur was a brush; my palette was the spirit of Camelot; and my dreams materialized into art with the powerful alchemy Merlin had harnessed in that bygone age of wizards.
Unheralded, this miracle of art had expanded the boundaries of my awareness in all directions; the circle was complete. In an instantaneous flash, I had received a lifetime of knowing and doing art, something that could not be learned, or taught, in any art school. I realized the art establishment, which is heavily invested in resumes and conventional academic agendas, might not embrace my experience. Make no mistake. All great art is timeless and born outside the establishment, outside the current taste. To suddenly become an artist in my forties was not a dharma I would have ever predicted for myself. I had no prior hint of this talent, not even a crayon drawing as a child.
Obi Wan Kenobi
I had experienced a metaphysical communication, a personal contact with the Creator “through the looking glass” of art—which by definition is transcendental to thought and words, and cannot be weighed by the perceptions of others. In this space of “first contact” we stand alone, passing before the eye of God as individuals. My existence up until that moment had been about questioning dogma. Now I had more than words or notions; I had the finished goods. The confirmation of my epiphany was in the magic. To know quality in art is not difficult if you can forget thinking and see with your soul. To paraphrase the late Duke Ellington: If it looks good, it is good. In my artist’s statement, I wrote, in part: “There is no mystique about art, only in how it comes into the world. If its creation is magic, then the art is magic. My art comes directly from my soul. The soul is the magic window into the Cosmic Psyche—the source of all creation, material reality ... God. My art flows from my intuition, and through improvisation I play visual jazz with line and color. The remarkable journey of spontaneous impulses of energy and information that surge down my arm onto paper via a pencil or pastel is evidence of the Spirit in Art and transcendence in the physical world.”
Although unexpected in its form, my gift of creative fire as an artist was not a random happening. It was the payoff of an arduous twenty-year long odyssey. During those two decades, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that I was seeking my soul, my passion in life, or that I had to find my way back to God first. Hearing a constant distant transcendent drumbeat, I simply knew something was calling, a muse but not a muse, something more powerful. Once committed to the journey, turning back was not an option. I had left behind the “security” associated with being a rising star in the corporate universe. I burned bridges and cleared paths toward a faraway Mecca based solely on an intuitive dream. As Jedi Knight Obi Wan Kenobi, in the film Star Wars, rightly instructs young Luke Skywalker: “Trust your feelings.”
During my daunting search for that something, I came to understand that nothing is obvious and nothing goes without saying. Comparisons are traps and character answers all questions were also lessons I learned on the way. I questioned authority, my self-styled faith, as well as my sanity—frequently. To test resolve, all paths toward the hub of understanding are strewn with doubts, rationalizations, and temptations. If you are comfortable, with no edge to hone, you are not developing. To the observer, including members of my family, my decisions to do “this” or go “there” made no sense. In my quest for the light, there were many bleak times, dark days that nearly extinguished this human flame. As a wise seer once said: It is better to live in fulfillment than in hope. To grow, you must stretch your self. It seemed to others, and all too often to myself, that I was spiraling south in a spiritual vertigo toward ruin.
In the meantime, I had become a published book author, had written for numerous magazines, hobnobbed in circles with saints and sinners, went from riches to rags, had adventures that only happen on the road, and was wealthy with profound experiences. Exciting, but not yet a livable annuity. I had no money and a promising future didn’t seem likely. Still, I, like the main character in the film Field of Dreams, had bet the farm on intuition (a voice inside my head only I could hear) and decided that all my experiences would be grist for the mill.
The Net Works
By definition, a leap of faith means no safety net. When I thought I was leaping, I was searching intensely. Faith had not yet come into play; faith was still off in the distance waiting for me to catch up. To cleanse your self of social conditioning and find your voice, you must first purge your self of personality—the various contrived masks the ego portrays for different circumstances and people. If you can focus on your true identity, with its strengths and weaknesses, using an undistorted introspective lens while standing naked in the midst of a material world telling you to put on a uniform, you have, as you might have already surmised, garnered the beginnings of character—a prerequisite for getting that wake up call. It’s the way the universe works.
As the years flew bye-bye, I had no idea how my story would play out. I was making it up as I went along, and I wasn’t getting any younger either. As with the creation of art, I had direction, not a rigid plan. If you’re a writer, write; if you’re a singer, sing; if you’re a seeker, seek and find; if you’re painter, paint. If you say you are and you don’t, you’re a fraud. Don't you agree?
Then, as previously described, my wondrous revelation of art in the City of Angels had been total, complete, with no loose strings. How many times do we get to experience awe in a lifetime? Daily is the recommended dose. To create awesome work, you must be in awe. In my euphoria, as the journey felt as if it had finally ended, I soon realized it had now first begun. There were now more questions than answers. Faith begins after you experience a miracle, not before. And that faith is a lifelong commitment that is tested with each tick tock of the big clock. To believe and have faith in God by rote because you’ve been indoctrinated to do so has no depth, value, or soul.
I accepted the gift with gratitude. I had won the cosmic lottery. This was my dharma. I was an artist, a late bloomer at that, and at an age and temperament when artistic success would do me no harm. If a child can be a prodigy, why not an adult? As my baby boomer peers were getting solicitations in the mail to kick back into modern maturity and join AARP, I was beginning my life’s work. The initiative to create what had not previously existed was a way to make personal contact with the Artist of all existence. I dedicated my energy to this enterprise of art.
Since art is already burdened with much historical baggage, misconceptions, and confusion among the public and artists as well, let me place art and artist within a custom—made frame. I am exceptionally qualified to do this as I have the perspective of having been in the audience and now, as a painter, on stage. As you can teach someone to speak and write a language, you can teach someone the skill of drawing—to illustrate or describe some likeness, which is ultimately prosaic. The art I am talking about is art from the soul, which is poetry in images that are unimaginable because the source is limitless reality. No one can teach anyone to be such an artist. To be born, an artist must be unleashed—this is the nature of power. Early human protoartists did not go to art school before creating their magnificent cave paintings. Art was expressed from inner feelings and need, not thinking. In this regard, nothing has changed. For it to be great, the art must be alive.
Universe hums along according to laws known and unknown. Inside each of us is yet another universe of immeasurable possibilities waiting to be created. We are all capable of great contribution if we are willing to take the cosmic dare: discover your sane purpose, your human potential, in this dimension of physical reality. Ultimately, you do become that which you love. Many are called, few choose to go.
Understanding is the Goal
I was silent. I listened. I heeded my intuition, and it led me to the Creator. Now, I move forward knowing this: understanding is the goal; I know the source of my work, which is its value. This is a good place, a sweet spot of awareness.
With deference to Jack Kerouac who is now on some other road, I am no longer a “dharma bum.”»