Art and I used to be best friends. Constant companions, always together no matter what. Art–not a guy, but making art, creativity, drawing–was a part of me, from the time I was a little kid until I was a teenager. I loved art, and art seemed to love me.
Then art and I broke up.
The fault was entirely mine. I suffered from ego problems, though not the oversized ego that some creative people seem to think is a right. My ego was too small, which is just as much of an egocentric problem. Thinking you’re not good enough is still thinking about yourself too much, instead of focusing on the thing you’re busy saying you’re not good enough at.
Over many years I tried to reconnect with art, but I still had the same problem: my ego got in the way. It judged everything I tried to do, and with a level of harshness akin to bathroom tile cleanser (with bleach). I couldn’t power through it, so I’d give up, and my lack of persistence and dedication only bolstered the judgement-fest. If only berating myself had some sort of benefit, like burning calories. But no; it actually made me eat my feelings, which gave my ego even more to kvetch about.
Yoga helped save me from these Samskaras (endless cycles of suffering). Not just the physical practice; I’m talking about the whole Yoga enchilada, the spiritual tools.
Yoga helped save me from these Samskaras (endless cycles of suffering). Not just the physical practice; I’m talking about the whole Yoga enchilada, the spiritual tools. Maitri, or kindness, helped me stop beating myself up for having typical human problems. Ishvara Pranidhanan, self-surrender, showed me how to leggo my ego and turn myself over to something bigger, like the Universe. Bhakti, or devotion, was a path to doing something not for myself, but because it might bring joy to others. Sutra 1.14 reminded me to never give up. And yes, it was through Asana, the physical practice, that I was able to unplug the endless litany of thoughts going through my beautiful (but addled) head, and learn to focus.
Art and I are now in love again. My primary focus is writing, and I’m working on a book right now (news and details coming soon). But when I’ve finished another chapter and I’ve done the Asana practice that eases the aches from hours of sitting, Art, my beloved friend, is there for me, waiting to give me a greater sense of Yoga–union–with the creative divine.
What’s your version of Art? Tell me about it, and what your relationship is like.