Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Ultimate Art Form.........

There is a vast spectrum of possibilities when it comes to making art.  One could spend a lifetime just trying out all the various media, and some of them are unexpected.  For instance, we don't ordinarily think of business as an art form, per se, but in its highest permutations it requires imagination and creativity of an extraordinary level, if it is going to prosper.

Then there is medicine.  I once had a conversation with a doctor that went something like this:  "You are both a scientist and an artist, traditionally speaking.  I am asking you now for your opinion as a practitioner of the medical ARTS.  I want to know what you feel in your gut."  He brightened right up and told me that he didn't really believe I was having a heart-attack, and then segued right back to his scientific viewpoint and said, "But, we have to treat it as such, until we have completely ruled it out."  What he declined to add was that he was obligated to cover his ass.  (Turned out to be an esophageal spasm that was alleviated before an injection of an antispasmodic drug was even out of my arm. And, treatment was steered in that direction by a nurse who also had a gut feeling that it wasn't a cardio-event.)

There are a plethora of other surprising media.  On the warrior path the term 'Martial Arts' is used, but most of us have no idea how artful it really is.  At the very highest levels, it borders on miraculous.  Laws such as that of gravity and time-space are seemingly broken and forces are brought into play that most of us believe are the sole province of comic books and fantasy movies.  But, the trashy media didn't make it all up. Example: A top Japanese Aikido Master was visiting Ft. Devens, in Massachusetts.  He was there at the request of one of his students--a very advanced American black-belt--and consented to put on a demonstration for a group of Special Forces soldiers who were in a program to test how the army could develop extraordinary skills in elite warriors.  In a kendo duel--with bokan, wooden swords--the black-belt student tried to land blows on his master.  He felt like his sword was bouncing off of an invisible inner-tube.  Finally, he made one last attack, and the sword went through the invisible barrier....and he suddenly found himself wrapped from behind in his master's arms, with his own sword-tip at his throat.  That is true and it is NOT magic.  It is martial skill at the level of an art-form.....a transcendent one.

But, there is one medium that can be identified as the "Ultimate Art Form", and masters from all cultures, all disciplines and all times in human history would agree that this is indeed the highest form of art, beyond any argument or doubt. And, that highest of all artistic YOUR LIFE.

If you are willing to accept that each person has an opportunity placed before them at birth, despite all the challenges, the possible obstacles, and handicaps, using both the advantages of one's gifts, and the challenges of one's shortcomings, can allow a person to pursue life as a creative enterprise, one in which the goal is utterly simple and sane: to become wholly and profoundly HUMAN.  It is absolutely NOT to become dominant, wealthy, skilled at any or all of the lesser media.  Those can, in fact, become distractions and even impediments.  But, they can also become vehicles for moving towards the goal of having an open mind and an open heart.....thereby becoming ultimately and excruciatingly human.

Every time we have a new event or experience in our lives, it becomes a part of the matrix that is US. We can use it, or be detained, even destroyed, by it.  We can even use such terrible experiences as being in a Nazi concentration camp.  I once met a living example of this: Rabbi Zalman Schachter, aka, the Purple Sox Rabbi.  At an evening presentation in Berkeley, Zalman talked about this process of becoming human, and as he spoke, I could feel and even visually SEE the love emanating from him.  Here in front of me was a fully realized Human Being.  It was so obvious that this man had learned something that had transformed him. And, afterwards, I was introduced to him by a friend who knew him well.

And, there on his arm was a crudely tatooed number, beginning with 'A'...............for Auschwitz.

1 comment:

Teresa Evangeline said...

Life as the ultimate art form. Yes. Absolutely. And, thank you for the reminder to live each day with Love as our Teacher and Guide.