Mystic Arts: The practical synthesis of Art, Embodiment, Meditation and Narrative Medicine.
Mediums and Practices:
Medicine for the future
The performance and demonstration of experience through arts is the sharing of the human story. Art plays many roles in culture. It tells a story, it heals and it translates experience. The artistic practice changes the consciousness of the artist and the witness, it moves us and empowers us.
It is part of the relational infrastructure of the community. In this way art is communication. I am not speaking of art for commercial purposes, I am speaking of art as a practice of living authentically. In this way art is therapy, medicine for future.
The subject matter
There has always been a certain propensity among some people to ask the big questions. The uncertainty of the dark recesses of the emotional and mental realms...the missing patches in our knowledge...have and always will be essential elements of experience. For without that wild dimension of the unknown, into what space would we grow and evolve? It is these edges of consciousness that are the context that the Mystic Arts engage with.
Unity in diversity
As with any endeavour, it is prudent to have a motivation for action (or non-action) that is based on clear intentions; the same goes for the Mystic Arts. Each practitioner will have a personalised or specific approach to their subject matter and method; yet it is clear that they will share a common orientation.
It's not what we think it is
It is easy enough to say that Mysticism is a religious or 'spiritual' attitude towards the unknown in reality. What is more difficult is engaging with discourse on the practices of Mysticism; that are the Mystic Arts. The main barriers, incidentally, to both the discussion around Mysticism, as well as the practice, are to do with the conceptual and symbolic nature of what we call 'understanding'. It is one thing to understand knowledge, it is another to understand experience.
The practice of Mystic Arts is a practice of experiences, in terms of altering the perspective and quality of consciousness of experience, as well as altering the experience itself. Getting stuck on the symbolic or conceptual hierarchies of the mind can lead to missing the glory and gift that is a direct relationship to experience.
The essentials of practice
Contemplation, then, is the main port of call for the practitioner; the practice of contemplation is the act of observing closely and paying attention. Further, the object of contemplation changes with attention; this is to say that the experience of the object changes.
So the mystic arts are practices of both consideration and direction; of listening and expressing; of stillness and movement. Essentially, the way in which we practice contemplation directly affects our experience. This especially true of creative contemplation in visual art, music, dance and storytelling.
The storytelling of art translates the experience of the artist purely and effectively through the medium; demonstrating the mastery of these two foundational halves of the Mystic Arts:
Choice and Surrender...Gentleness and Power, Strength and Softness, Active and Passive.
The harmonic of cultivated balance is the product of diligent practice.
This is the truth hidden on the path of liberation.
Photos: Pakololo - Daintree Valley Queensland 2015
Michael Ellis - 2010 Steel, wood, plaster, fabric. 2m x 2m x 2m x 2m
'do ones utmost to translate the power of the unknown, the present is the font of the great mystery'
Process and material studies.
Michael Ellis - 2010 Freight Crate, paint, plaster, industrial light, charcoal. 1m x 1.5m x 70cm