The Process of Art-Making is a Spiritual Practice

The process of art making is a spiritual practice. The end result is somewhat secondary. If something beautiful or edifying emerges, all the better! but it is the process itself that opens up our spirit and transforms us.

Freeing ourselves from the concern of the finished product allows us to fully engage wherever the process may take us. This suspension of judgment gives us an openness that will lead to greater expressions of creativity, greater discoveries, greater surprises and thus, greater joy in what is created.

To be sure, there is a time to step back and make judgments on what has been done. Then the editing and the refinements can take place.  We all want to make great art, but the place of pure, creative play must be allowed the total freedom of infinite possibility.

Now, you may know where you want to go from the outset. Great. This may aid to eliminate thousands of unnecessary rabbit trails and dead ends, but I would only caution not to be so heavy handed as to eliminate the possibility of innovation or surprise discovery.

When our spirit is free to play with no imposing demand of what is to be made, our world enlarges. Even if our best art is not made from this approach, it is a valuable exercise for it will transform the way we see and engage the world.  Through cultivating this approach to art making, our disposition toward life will be more naturally inclined toward creative receptivity.

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The same faculties that are engaged in art making are the same as those employed in prayer, meditation and worship.  The same sense of focus, keen observation, solitude of heart and openness to encounter are all the same. There is no wonder the poet is often deemed a prophet and the why the prophets of old often wrote in poetic form. Art making is a spiritual process.

This is why ultimately, art as an act of worship is the highest form of art making there is.  It is the culmination, the pinnacle, the satisfaction of the artistic impulse.  It is here, the creative image of God within us returns full circle unto the Creator who designed us and filled us with himself.

Many artists throughout history have spent their lives seeking the fulfillment of their artistic experience, creating piece after piece, some brilliant and beautiful masterpieces - all made in conscious (or more often, unconscious) attempt to reach that mystical union with God our creative hearts pine for. 

Only in worship, conscious, chosen, deliberate worship is the artist impulse truly and fully satisfied.  There is no other end other than the Presence of God himself that is able to satisfy the heart and soul of mankind. 

Art making is a spiritual practice. It is a form of prayer. It is worship. It engages the deepest parts of our being. This is why art, music, performance so edifies the beholder. It engages our spirit and leads us toward the Great Lover, the Great Artist himself whose trace and scent we recognize in our finite expressions still wet with his fragrance.