I have long been interested in the old notion of a balanced life. I'm not even sure where it originated, but many ancient philosophers and societies valued the balance of the mind body and spirit. I have read that the Greeks believed in sharpening each point of the delicate triangle in order to achieve a degree of enlightenment. I have always liked this idea. It is only in the past few years that I have attempted to live it. Still, its not easy.
Physical strength is easy enough, for me. I work out on a regular basis, and aside from my constant struggle to gain a few pounds, I think my body is doing okay. I'm not gonna say I'm a specimen of health. I tend to not eat my veggies as often as I should. I consume more sugar than most kids I know. But, I'm in shape. I can run a mile without breathing heavy. I can knock out 50 push-ups without major injury. Strong body: check.
My mind is probably my most prized possession. I've always been a thinking man. Perhaps to a fault, I have cultivated my mind. I can think my way out of problems that most people don't even recognize as problems. When most guys jump to use their bodies, I find a way to use my mind instead. It has rarely failed me. (I say rarely, because it did quit on me once, but that's another talk altogether.) Statistically speaking, I'm more educated than just about everyone. When you consider the fact that only about 3% of our population has a terminal degree, the quest I'm on puts me on pace to be more educated than 97% of the folks you're likely to meet on any given day. More importantly though, I'd like to think that my life experience has taught me a thing or two. I've been around the block. On the way around, I paid attention. So at the risk of sounding rude, I'll say this. Strong mind: check.
That's two thirds of the triangle. That's pretty good, right? Only thats not enough. You ever see a three legged stool? Try taking away one of those legs and see what happens. A friend of mine brought an interesting question to my attention. He did so in the form of a comment. He commented on the rantings of my blog by saying "....the intense yearning for expression of the artist can not be consumated thru artistic expression, but rather in spiritual expression." There's that third stool leg.
I've always seen my art as my connection to God. My art is my sanctuary. I guess it makes sense. When I was young, we listened to jazz on Sunday mornings. It was like worship. I studied music religiously when I was coming up. Art is my higher power. When I am away from it, I feel empty. When I am in it, I feel whole. When I went away from playing music for a time, someone approached me and said, "God gave you this gift so you'd use it." That really hit me. Its a gift from God. It is my spirituality, if you will. So here's my question.
I don't hide the fact that God and I have not always seen eye to eye. I don't like church. I have, at times, felt a bit lost there. I have, at times, felt lost period. But God and I seem to agree on one thing. The art thing works for me. I give him credit for having it. He keeps the ideas flowing. It seems like a fair deal to me. But is my friend right? Is that not enough? Do I owe the Creator a greater thanks for my creativity? And if so, what? Is the expression of art, in and of itself, not my spiritual expression? Will I somehow find that enlightenment and fulfillment that I seek through some OTHER kind of expression? Because I love and respect the friend that planted this thought in my head, I'm gonna give my mind time to process it. In the mean time, I better go hit the gym.