“Working in the way of the artist does not impede, but enhances and expresses spiritual life.”
-Laurence G. Boldt in Zen & the Art of Making a Living, p. 68
The talents of every one of these people serve to better all of humanity. The doctor’s hands save lives. The lawyer’s mind reasons for justice; her voice argues for the same. Teachers educate and empower the next generation. The heart of Humanitarians serves those without access. A Painter’s vision enlightens society. A Poet uses his heart, mind, and voice to write and speak the truth. Artists create everything from nothing. All of them – doctors, lawyers, teachers, humanitarians, painters, and poets – working in their different fields, using their different skills refined by their unique senses, are Artists. The Artist embodies all of them.
These people too, are Artists. They use creativity and improvisation to create a desired result. Parents groom, nurture and discipline their children until they are molded into the person they desire. Caretakers work with the tools they are given to help those who cannot help themselves achieve some semblance of normal living.
So when Laurence G. Boldt says that “Working in the way of the artist enhances and expresses spiritual life,” he means that using one’s innate creativity to hone his/her talents and skills – like an artist does – increases one’s capacity to come in touch with one’s spirituality.
Spirituality is the invisible energy that moves the soul, that sustains life, that allows all people to feel that they are part of a puzzle bigger than themselves. Spirituality is knowing that one’s life has a purpose, whether that purpose is yet understood. Understood or not, it is believing that that purpose will be discovered. Spirituality is the energy that moves all beings into a state of peace, love, understanding, and harmony with oneself and all of the natural world. It is the rock, the flow of the river, the growth of the plant, the rising of the sun, the setting of the moon. It is the seasons. It is earth, wind, fire, and rain. It is astrology. It is celestial. It is the unexplainable yet predictable. It is the ordinary and extraordinary. It is yin. It is yang. It is man and woman. It is child and father. It is Mother. It is life and death. It is hurt and forgiveness. It is balance. That’s what Spirituality is…Balance.
The Artist is he who balances the evils of the present world by sharing her vision of a brighter world through her power to transform ugly into beautiful, darkness into clarity. The Artist is the prophet, who is not deterred by present obstacles, who charts a path on the road not taken, who aspires amongst doubters, who knows in disbelief.
The Artist is the Spiritual, the Spirit of Man. So that is why working in the way of the Artist enhances and expresses spiritual life. It enhances and expresses man’s knowledge of himself and all things surrounding him.
I am working in the way of the Artist.