Arts and Crafts
Dedicated to my dear friend and artist - Ari Abraham
A mystic is an artist. Their palette is made out of words, gestures, and sounds. The reason art is the medium of their expression is because none of their creations are neither useful nor hold any form of purpose. The creation of a mystic is a form of illustration that would receive its meaning from the beholder and not the art itself. It does not hold a specific, localized meaning the artist wished to convey at the time of its inception. When creating, the mystic isn't concerned with being neither understood nor received. Like a painter, the mystic "paints" as an expression of their inner world. They have to do so. Otherwise, something just doesn't feel right. For the mystic, communicating their inner world is a must. In some way, it's an obsession. A river, a force of nature that has to find its way back into the ocean.
A craftsman crafts purpose. Craftsmen are skilled; they hold a profession. Usually trained over a lengthy period of time. As a society, we need them. They are extremely valuable to us. We need their skill in order to craft the tools and instruments we need to survive and thrive in relation to the world around us. Yes, take a look around you; everything you see that holds a purpose has been crafted by a craftsman. At the moment of its inception, any craft first had its purpose. Crafting is dependent on time. A need of the past translated into a solution in the future. It is an answer to something that was missing.
Art is an entirely different phenomenon. It is non-temporal. It is not rooted in the past nor aimed toward a distant tomorrow. Art, in its purest form, is purposeless and serves no end. When asked why they created their creations, most artists would shrug their shoulders or simply say – I had to. Creating for most artists is an urge, a result of an impulse they are following, and not so much a defined medium of communication. Artists don't always try to convey or communicate anything specific other than their own need to create or even "birth" their piece.
In the Old Testament, it is said – "Ein Tzayar Ke Eloheynu," meaning there is no painter as God. The implication is that divinity is a process of an artistic creation. If you follow this thread, this is a deeply profound statement. The wording used in the book of Genesis - "in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth"; the word for created, in Hebrew, is 'Yatzar.' It has the same root as the root for the word paint. Once again, this implies that the creation of this world is an artistic expression - purposeless and filled with meaning. A meaning which is given by us, its beholders, and willing participants. A living and breathing part of this artistic creation.
If we relate to the world around us as an artistic creation and not so much a scientific process of evolution nor an archaic religious expression of an angry (or benevolent) God, our relationship to everything surrounding us might look completely different. If you feel into this, you'll realize that if the world around you is purposeless, you too, are purposeless. You are not a crafted being that can serve but one purpose. For centuries, we have been searching for the meaning of life. For a predefined purpose for which we were brought to be. But if there is no purpose, what is left is a relaxed ground for creativity and individual expression. A collaborative environment of artists and less of a battleground between distinct instrumental and crafted purposes. Viewing our surroundings as an artistic platform brings about a deep sense of freedom and ease. It is an invitation to explore each other less as valued competition and more as a complimentary voice or movement to add to our artistic creation.
A craftsman would look at you with an assessing eye. What are you good for? What can you be used for or with? An artist will wonder what type of color would you mix best with? What type of sound do you make? How can you be artistically enjoyed. In what way will adding you into the mix will produce the most harmony and the most beauty.
Our world is built by craftsmen and painted by artists. We need one another; we depend on this mutual exchange of invaluable gifts. The canvas and the paint, the formed and the formless. The mystic, in a way, is useless; there's nothing their art can offer to a practical, utilitarian reality. However, the mystic brings about meaning to the craftsman's world. The mystic is able to transform purpose into meaning and meaning into gratitude.
When assessing yourself and your relationship with the world, try to look through the eyes of a mystic, find the mystery, and live your life as a masterpiece. You, my friend, are nothing but a profound and mystical artistic miracle.