Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. Yesterday, I visited a museum of modern
art. Although there were many interesting objects, I failed to feel any deeper
emotion. It seemed, that only my mind (judgement, commentary, interpretation) was
involved. My question to you is, why it remained a rather superficial experience?
A. It is a matter of
wavelength. The level that has been transmitted, will be received as such. If something
has been created on the level of the mind, then usually its resonance will be accordingly.
It is just like radio being the transmitter and you being the receiver.
Q. Do you mean, that art can be created
on various "levels?"
A. Do you accept, that you
yourself have different layers of experiencing, indeed from superficial to deep?
Q. Obviously, impressions have different
effects, from shallow to being touched in a very fundamental way.
A. Could you call this the
quality of experience?
Q. I think so. I just don't know the
A. A comparison. Relaxation is
the first pre-requisite to meditation. Without relaxation, it will be impossible to
"let yourself down" into deeper layers. From the first moment, that you indeed
come closer to "your center", you let go of the periphery. The characteristic of
having reached a deeper level, is that thoughts cease to pop up. Conclusion: thoughts
prove to be your most superficial level of functioning.
Q. You mean to say?
A. If a particular object of
art has been created through the mind, its result is obviously accordingly. I call this
"mind-art". It is the most superficial form of art. Why? Because its
"vibrations" can only resonate with something, that is geared to it. In
this case from mind to mind.
Q. "Superficiality" means, that you
classify art according to levels?
A. It is saying less about the
particular art involved, but more about your ability to getting in tune with it. Something
may have very deep qualities, but if you fail to experience the same level, then the
result will be limited. Thus, when I say "mind-art", then it first says
something about the receiver. What doesn't exclude at all, that the object was indeed a
product of the mind-only. Enjoying art requires, that the channels of communication from
both sides are wide-open.
Q. What happens, if you reject a certain kind
A. I have to think of the time,
that I visited Indian Concerts regularly. When I once told a friend of mine about it, he
frowned at me. "That whining" he said, "how you possibly can appreciate
that?" It is because of having blocked off deeper layers (which is required for
enjoying Indian music), that you fail to appreciate, so you tend to reject it. It is an
indication of having sealed off that (necessary) layer in yourself.
Q. Please, may I go back the your earlier
remark. You said, that in meditation sooner or later the most superficial layer
"drops off". It seems, that this layer is less relevant. What about all those
artists, who have never meditated?
A. This is quite a crucial
matter indeed. It touches the very essence of how the mind works. First of all, most
people are the slaves of their impulses. It is the characteristic of the so-called
"normal" mind. This is because the (Western) mind is totally out of balance. The
core problem is, that awareness is lacking. Awareness is your inner observer. You discover
it, when you step back within yourself. By doing so, an inner distance is created between
you (your new identity) and your thoughts, ideas, emotions, impulses of any kind, desires
and ambitions. Because of this, a double freedom has been achieved: you are free from your
impulses and your impulses have been freed from you: from your involvement, interference
Q. But, as I understand, this is rarely the
A. "Normally", this
inner distance is lacking, as people have never heard of something like "an inner
observer" or your "Real Self", which are two words for the same thing. It
reflects the time we live in: knowing "everything" in the outer world, but being
totally unaware about the one who perceives it. The consequence of missing inner distance
is, that any impulse that arises, is taking you in tow. You can choose between two
thoughts, certainly, but you cannot choose to be freed from them altogether. Thoughts
appear to be stronger than you. You may compare it with an airplane in the sky. As soon as
you hear it, you have to look up and watch it. Hence, the "normal mind"
- however clever - is a compulsive one.
Q. "Mind-art" is "compulsive
A. If you confront this
situation with the Mother's Law of the Universe, you come to understand, where the shoe
pinches. As you know from my earlier lectures, this Law consists of the dynamic
equilibrium between death, rebirth and interconnectedness. It is determining all processes
in the universe, from the Divine to the visible world. Our functioning is only optimal, if
it is in accordance with this Law. Hence, the old saying, that microcosm should be in
harmony with macrocosm.
Q. What could possibly be the importance for
the creative process?
A. The striking thing is the
discovery of the similarity between this Law and the functioning of the (liberated) mind.
Because of your inner distance, you may easily observe, that thoughts come up, stay there
for a particular time, while subsequently disappearing. It is reflecting "death and
rebirth". Some thoughts easily disappear, while others stubbornly persist or return
after a while. So, by simply observing the mind, without any activity on your part,
"important thoughts" are being separated from the less important ones. Hence, in
order to determine, what is really important to you, you must be able to let thoughts die
off. This ability to distinguish determines the quality of your work.
Q. What doesn't seem to be happening in a
"normal" mind, as far as I understand.
A. Lacking inner freedom, the
"normal" mind is not able to create space, in which thoughts, ideas etc. can die
off. It has to follow impulses. That makes it compulsive. The only possibility
left is, that you may indeed reject it. However, in a split second there will be another
one, instead. The obsession with your thinking as such has not ceased. The consequences
are severe. Compulsive art is swamping the world with an enormous load dubious, trivial
and irrelevant products. The point is, that if you are not free, then your art won't be
free either. Freedom toward your impulses characterizes the true master.
Q. Thus, "compulsive art" is indeed a
A. Crucial in this regard is,
that you start looking at it from the perspective of the Whole e.g. the Mother. It is the
only way to restore balance, something we are obliged to do, if we want to save the world.
First of all, if you are part of your impulses, you can never transform them. Problems are
never solved on the same level. You need to occupy a position, which allows you to have an
overview. The overview position with regard to your inner processes is awareness, the
inner observer. On the other hand, if you remain identified with your thought world, you
remain slave of your impulses. Both you and your impulses are conditioned by our
compulsive society. Hence, this your conditioning cannot but only reproducing old things.
Your art remains within the context of the existing compulsive system, indeed serving the
interests of egoism, profit and expansion.
Q. So, art is political?
A. To make things more clear,
you may set "alienated art" against "healing art". The former includes
identifying yourself slavishly with every indiscriminate impulse, serving the interests of
fragmentation, devaluation, disruption and uprootedness. (The exception to the rule is
art, that purposely wants to expose alienation). Healing art, on the other hand, is
consciously pursuing to go back to the roots, once again. It acknowledges the necessity of
restoring the existential context: "Heaven, earth and the (new) community",
directly or indirectly promoting the healing of both the individual and society.
Q. Artists as the slaves of a
A. Apart from producing
absolutely boring art, the overall result is a gigantic waste of energy. Overproduction
and unnecessary waste are part of a system, that purposely creates artificial needs.
Nowadays, it is compulsive art, that plays a key role here. It serves a system of
collective self-addiction. It is the engine behind advertisement, PR, marketing etc. Even
the "free" arts have become victim of commercialism.
Q. What would you offer to all poor
artists, who now realize that they have been always on the wrong track?
A. For the sake of the Whole,
you should meet the highest requirements possible. Creativity reflects the Cosmos, after
all. It is putting qualities like originality, transformative power and renewal in
center of interest. By becoming part of the Law of the Universe, you become co-creator. As
has been said above "emptying yourself" is crucial. It means letting go of every
irrelevant impulse, while simultaneously becoming receptive to "Divine"
inspiration. However, this is only possible, if your "cup is empty".
Q. This implies working on
yourself in the first place, rather than immediately focusing on "inspiration",
A. Absolutely. Usually, the
"creative process" consists of "chasing and exploiting new ideas".
This is a consumer attitude. You use them, whereafter you throw them away. Rarely it comes
to one's mind, that creativity first of all is depending on a New (Wo)Man. Ideas are
depending on the Vessel, in which they appear. This implies the necessity of continuous
personal renewal. Creativity is a.o. largely depending on your ability to letting thoughts
die, while simultaneously creating inner space. The miracle is this: if your attitude is
in tune with Cosmic Law, then mutual resonance will be generating a totally new way of
activity. Being in tune with the Source is giving you an inexhaustible reservoir of
inspiration, clarity, energy, passion and ability. Eventually it is not you, who has to do
it anymore. Something within - "the Cosmos" - will be doing it for you.
Therefore, truly e.g. free art is sacred. It is pure expression, without anything (the
ego) in between, a reflection of the Mother's Grace, giving rise to joy and gratitude. In
turn you may dedicate your work to the Origin.
Q. Maybe some hints, how to achieve this in
A. This consists of a general
part and a specific part. The former consists of a basic attitude. This includes
considering your daily life part of your spiritual practice. This may vary from practicing
body-contact-awareness, meditation to surrendering to the Great Mother. What is important
is, that you'll find a practice suitable to your needs, talents and possibilities. The aim
should be to break through the (unconscious) identification with the mind, e.g. the
discovery of your inner freedom.
Q. What about the specific part?
A. These are some
recommendations, if you actually start working. Sit upright before your canvas, paper,
piece of stone etc. Relax. While relaxing, you feel the earth pulling at you. Through
which the under part of your body becomes more heavy. Feel the contact of this under part
with the floor. Note: this is an exercise in receptive awareness. It implies, that you
don't concentrate (in this case on the under part of your body). Concentration means going
out of your center, while focusing (narrowing! your mind) on a certain object. Willpower
is needed to achieve that. It is the "masculine" form of awareness. No, this is
not the way to get inspired. Contrary to that, you have to practice openness. Like a
flower, opening herself in order to receive the rays of the sun. I call this receptive or
feminine awareness. Thus, while relaxing, you stay with your center, which you may locate
in your heart (chakra) region, while letting the bodily sensations (generated by
body-contact with the floor) come to you. The secret is this: by becoming open to the
flow, your awareness starts expanding. Eventually, the latter will become an inner space,
with less and less thoughts hindering you. It will become a Vessel for receiving Divine
inspiration. From the moment on, that this starts happening, you pick up your pencil,
brush or pen in order to go with the flow within.
The Mother creates by emptying
May you start imitating the
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