Some of the benefits of meditation are increased happiness and a greater understanding of our thoughts and emotions.
This, naturally over time leads to less suffering.
Most art deals with the subject of suffering.
A fear that I had when I started to meditate was that it would take my suffering away from me. And I felt, instinctively, that this would take away what I felt to be true and real. Which was my right as a human to suffer.
After all, what kind of a life is it if we were just born and then from then on in we led a perfect life.
It would be very boring. For everybody.
This is what such a story would look like.
Once upon a time there was a perfect person who had a perfect life and then they died.
It would be like standing in a perfectly white room. forever.
There are no shadows, so what do you have to compare the white too?
It lacks definition.
It lacks a narrative.
Stereotypes of meditators as people wandering around in a completely untouchable detached state have been greatly exaggerated and misunderstood. The Dali Lama still gets upset.
Once we learn meditation, we are not sheltered from the ups and downs of life.
We still go down. That’s human. But lets ask the question of how interesting is that on its own?
The truth is, that it is also very boring.
This is what such a story would look like
Once upon a time somebody was a horrible person and had a horrible life and never learnt anything and then they died.
Do not be fooled, meditation does not protect you from going down. but it does give you the sense of mind to be aware as you are going down.
We are then more open to learning from the experience and feeling the depths of it. Instead of the “clinging to self pity” response.
This awareness that comes from meditation gives us a way out of those depths too. Like I mentioned before, wallowing in those depths is just as boring as fluttering around in those heights.
It is on the way out of those depths that a truly remarkable piece of original artwork is made. It has narrative. It has definition. It makes for a dam good story.
Sure, there is going to be a dip again, but it will not be the same as before. It will be our own personal and original take on another innately human problem, or, a now even more aware exploration of a similar theme.
This ability is, in my opinion, not only that which has been the driving force behind so many masterpieces, but also that which has been the real substance of true luminaries throughout the history of the world.
Otto Rank, Art and Artist, translated by Charles Francis Atkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1943), pp. 40-41:
“If we compare the neurotic with the productive type, it is evident that the former suffers from an excessive check on his impulsive life…. Both are distinguished fundamentally from the average type, who accepts himself as he is, by their tendency to exercise their volition in reshaping themselves. There is, however, this difference: that the neurotic, in this voluntary remaking of his ego, does not get beyond the destructive preliminary work and is therefore unable to detach the whole creative process from his own person and transfer it to an ideological abstraction. The productive artist also begins…with that recreation of himself which results in an ideologically constructed ego; [but in his case] this ego is then in a position to shift the creative will-power from his own person to ideological representations of that person and thus render it objective. It must be admitted that this process is in a measure limited to within the individual himself and that not only in its constructive, but also in its destructive aspects. This explains why hardly any productive work gets through without morbid crises of a ‘neurotic’ nature.”