All spiritual and artistic endeavours are one, in that they all share the objective of being more fully immersed in the experiencing of life. This is true no matter if the individuals doing it are aware of it or not. These means can range from music, dance, art, sports, sculpting to prayer, meditation, asceticism and other spiritual practices. All these endeavours share the endpoint in direct experience, although it wouldn’t exactly be right to call direct experience as an endpoint, because it is in some way prior to beginning and end. When one dives into direct experience, time becomes just like any other concept that you’re mind is conjuring up. Art could therefore, from this point of view, be seen as a human activity that is in some subjective manner acting as a dissolver of time. The timeless can be communicated through artistic and spiritual endeavours because it brings one closer to direct experience and the present moment.
All those above-mentioned disciplines happen to be some of the life empowering doors to direct experience. As the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome”, well the same goes foreach elevated endeavour. The individuals practicing the arts, they all try to empower their lives through the sense of fulfillment that is provided by direct experience. When life is lived indirectly, the sense of fulfillment therefore also will seem absent. The cure for this indirect living is nothing other than the empowerment of ones life through living life as presence instead of a person. Presence is light, person is heavy, presence is spontaneous, person is predictable, presence is universal, person is egocentric, presence is here, and person is not.
The person most often is lost in its conceptions about life, and time is an important nexus of those conceptions. Thinking about how life should be, how it is, how it was, how it’s going to be. These are all projections of the person, all the while as your presence is simply and innocently here to experience life. It’s in the nature of presence to live directly, and it is in the nature of person to live indirectly. Not that one should completely stop thinking, unless one wants to reach absolute nirvana, but rather that one should recognize that spiritually and psychologically unhealthy habit in oneself towards indirect experience.
As I’ve just stated, the artist or the spiritual inclined individual always strives towards direct experience. However what I left out was that most often the latter, i.e. the spiritual individual is more aware of this fact in some shape or form. The spiritual one’s ideas of direct experience may differ broadly, as for one individual it can be called enlightenment, for another higher states of consciousness, and for others unity with the divine and God. They can have different names but they are all different expressions for direct experience, because if you one day meet God in his high heavens you should sure as hell be present in that moment.
Now that it has been stated that direct experience is the goal of all artistic and spiritual endeavours, that now begs the question, how does one reach it? Well the obvious and easy answer would be, considering what I’ve just said, namely artistic resourcefulness and spiritual practices. In other words, grab a paintbrush or dance in the rain, or perhaps you should pick up a guitar and sing your heart out, or maybe recite some poetry to a lover or simply go outside and create a splendid snowman from scratch. The artistic ways are innumerable, and they also happen to be quite satisfying and effective in bringing one more into ones own presence.
Well that inevitably brings us to the important point of, what about people that don’t feel all that spiritually or artistically inclined, what about them? The good news is that, you don’t really need to be any of those mentioned above, you simply need to be biologically alive and functional, and perhaps most importantly your essential intuition needs to be recognized and cultivated.
When you align your attention with your intuition, you are in that very moment accessing your own direct experience. You become more of presence rather than person, and this as we have established, is a healthy thing. Though this healthy habit or instinct is something that appears to be quite a rarity amongst modern people.
Awareness, intuition, attention and presence are the powerful keywords when it comes to achieving a more fulfilled life through the power of direct experience, and none of those concepts are dependent of an certain individuals character, constitution and/or skills. This is because awareness, attention, intuition and presence are innate qualities to the subjective experience of every human being. You simply cannot be alive and not be aware, at least aware in the sense that you are somewhat functional as a biological organism. Because one could argue that a person in a coma, is unaware yet still in someway alive. Nevertheless, this could be considered a different matter that could be tackled in a different time.
Daniel Seeker is a wandering dervish and lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized that he was made of immaculate and timeless consciousness when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realizaton. Daniel currently studies history, philosophy, egyptology and western esotericism at Uppsala Universitet. He’s also currently writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.