I thought about art today and how it moves you. You know, music, poetry, movies, paintings, plays, books, etc. And, I was wondering what makes something truly magnificent. Most of our lives, we’re so busy chasing sensations that we neglect our truths. When you spend so much time trying to fabricate something into more than what it really is, you’re not creating anything meaningful. When you try to make something funnier than it really is, or sadder than it really is, or “deeper” than it really is, you aren’t being true to the situation. You’re just fabricating it. When you try to impress people with your wit, you’re not being true to the situation- you’re just chasing a sensation.
What are sensations?
Sensations are the emotions you are addicted to. They’re what you chase in order to validate yourself. When you live vicariously through others, you’re chasing sensations. When you try to post extra-funny facebook statuses, you’re not being real. When you act like a clown to get attention, you’re not being real. If you try to act tough around people and exert your dominance so that they respect you more, you’re not being real. And everyone can sense it. Anything excessive is overkill.
Don’t chase sensations. Don’t try to get your sense of fulfillment from others. That’s just a straight ticket to slavery. When you have to borrow your self-esteem from others, you are a slave. When you have to impress others just so you feel better about yourself, you are a slave.
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have in order to impress people we don’t even like.” Fight club
Don’t do things to impress people. If you chase sensations, you’re going to overexert yourself. Approval is a drug worse than cocaine, worse than heroin. And once you start feeding off of others’ approval, you’re going to lose yourself in the madness. Don’t go there.
There’s a difference between an artist and a sensationalist.
A sensationalist is someone who chases after feelings. Such a person buys the most expensive clothes, tries to tell the funniest jokes, tries to be the life of the party, tries to get the greatest emotional reactions out of everyone, but ultimately ends up being a loser. Such people are empty, and that is why they chase feelings. They think that if they chase enough of these sensations, if they get enough reactions out of people, those reactions will somehow plug the hole in their souls. At first, it seems to work, but the feeling never lasts, so they keep going after more and more sensations. A sensationalist tries to get fancy degrees in order to get reactions out of people. As a matter of fact, everything a sensationalist does is an act of validation. At the extreme, these people can end up doing some horrible things in the world. At the extreme, these are your serial killers, these are your sociopaths, these are your rapists. Such people can find no inner peace, so they keep chasing more and more sensations in order to fill that void. At a more general level, sensationalists are represented by anyone who feels unhappy with his or her life and thinks that changing the outside will make the inside better.
An artist is someone who expresses his or her inner truth and stops at that.
It took me a very long time to realize this because you really can’t find that answer in a book. It came to me today as a deep realization while I was running outside and thinking about what makes things meaningful. So, listen closely. An artist is someone who expresses his or her inner truth and stops at that. The truth is the hardest thing to speak because it is nothing more than a feeling inside of you. At a higher existence, that feeling is a thought. It takes intelligence to be able to express one’s thoughts. Think about what’s involved in the act of writing something. You have to translate your feelings into thoughts, and then you have to take those thoughts and form them into coherent sentences. That, in and of itself, is a difficult task. And, the funny thing is, that’s just ordinary talk.
If you want to create art, then you have to reach for something even deeper. You have to reach for your truth. You have to reach for the message you feel at the very moment. Instead of reaching out to someone else and doing something silly just to get a reaction, an artist reaches for his or her truth.
What is your truth?
Your truth is your spark. It is the real you. It is the part of you that will never change. The challenge is converting that spark into art. You have to know what your best medium is. Are you a dancer? Are you a writer? Are you a painter? Are you an actor? Are you a builder? Our truths are always speaking loudly, but we usually neglect them because we want to seek sensations instead. But, like I said before, sensations never work.
You have to know your truth, you have to know yourself. And you have to know your greatest talent. Art is so difficult to express fully, that we often decide not to express it at all. I want to challenge you to express your art. DON’T overdo it. Just express your art through your greatest talent. If your greatest talent is writing, why would you try to do a song instead? That would mean that you are chasing a sensation. That would mean you’re trying to impress people. Just start with where you are.
No matter what medium you use to express your truth, you have to express it fully. So, if your greatest talent is writing, but want to go ahead and express your truth through a dance, then do it. But make sure that the dance capture the message of your truth fully.
Do you understand what I am saying?
Your truth is the HARDEST thing to express. It’s so hard to express that when you do express it fully, you won’t have to overdo it. In fact, if you try to overdo it, you will kill your message. You have to stop when you know that your message has fully been expressed. Beyond that, anything else you say will be an act of chasing some sensations. And, you know that just leads to misery.
Your challenge is to take your feeling and give it a body. If you can capture your feeling into the perfect body, then you have created art. But, adding extra ornaments and glitter will do nothing good. Instead, you’ll be turning your Mona Lisa into a clown.
When you think of some of the greatest works of art, you’ll notice that they all stopped at the point the truth of the artist had been fully expressed. The Shawshank Redemption, The Mona Lisa, The Sistine Chapel, The Wall (Pink Floyd), Beatles Music, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, Falling Water (the building by Frank LLoyd Wright), all expressed deep truths. And when those truths had been fully expressed, no other words, scenes, brush strokes, or notes were needed. Anything beyond the truth of what had been expressed would have been an act of sensationalism.
Sensationalism has a very short shelf span. It’s a drug that runs out quickly, and its message never lasts. But, art will last forever.
Even in your actions with people, just speak your truth. Express your opinion fully, wholly, and leave it at that. If something is funny, speak to its humor and nothing more. Speak your story, speak your thoughts, speak your feelings, but only speak them if you are willing to speak them fully. And, if you are to create art out of these truths, then choose the best words to express them, choose the best colors, the best music, the best choreography. With art, always reach for the best within you.
In your social life, in the moments when you are not doing art, still express your truths fully. Don’t go after sensations. If you are truly content with yourself, if you are whole, if you are complete, then you won’t try to do things to impress others. But if you speak your truth and stop at that, you will have everything you really want out of life. You will have the best friends, the best lovers, the best job, the best everything. And they won’t be acts of sensation. They’ll just be the things that resonate with your truths.
Truth is greater than sensation because it is filled with meaning, and that’s all you really need. You need to live a life of meaning. And, if you want to add meaning to the world, then you have to reach for your greatest truth and express it through your best art form, whatever that may be.