Everyday living is an art.
We all are creative all the time, though we may not realize it. When something becomes an art, one is aware of what one is doing and how. When we examine our lifestyle, and become aware of our creative power in the present moment, we reclaim the gift of being human.
Some people make art for money. Some do it to relax. Some illustrate their opinions. Some express themselves to vent anger or offer beauty. Others do art to better themselves in some way. Many create to impress others, part of vainly constructing an identity. The Aborigines in Australia do art to make sure that creation remains alive. The Renaissance artists depict the divine within the individual. The Impressionists objectively studied light. The Expressionists honored how the inner life defines our reality. I do art as a form of higher education, healing, giving thanks and praise, practicing presence of mind.
None of these are right or wrong, better or worse.
Then there’s ordinary life. Can our lifestyle become an art as well?
We must consider the questions above. What are we doing? How are we doing it?
What we are doing may or may not matter. A good artist can make art out of anything. Different artists can work in the same place with the same materials and produce something unique. Lest one be deceived, the question of what we create depends on function, not design. Design is vain unless it is subservient to function. It is necessary to fulfill the desired consequences when producing something in order for it to be artistic. Be clear about your purpose, and keep honing your skills until the desired consequences are achieved.
How one creates is partly conscious but mostly unconscious. We deepen our creativity beyond purpose by noticing how we are engaged in the present moment. This is less about product and more about process. Spiritually speaking, image reflects intention, but it is not enough to have an intention for just one moment. Being a vessel is ongoing. We can train ourselves to be more conscious by paying attention to the tension, or ease, of our thoughts, moods, and body. We can recognize the energy we are a vessel of at any given moment by sensing these spheres of being.
Why we do art is less fruitful to explore, because the inclination towards self-justification is so strong. A better question is, are we able to witness art?
Human beings have a way of justifying basically anything we do. Most human activity is not free. It is conditioned largely according to the laws of nature, karma, cause and effect. So why claim that we chose to act freely? This does not mean freedom isn’t possible. There’s no use in pretending we are free when we are not. Freedom requires us to understand the laws of nature governing our will. That is what the art of living is really about.
Thus, being a true artist is a scientific endeavor. Do discover, and work with, the laws of nature, is shamanism. A shaman is someone who works with the laws of nature creatively, for healing. With this motivation in mind, every action, however small, when aligned with the greater good, can be a ceremony, a celebration of our freedom to co-create.