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Does a spiritually enlightened mind still remain creative?

While I am not enlightened but I have witnessed numerous satori’s to get a glimpse of peace and stillness that lies in that state. One can experience total stillness or a state of no mind, then somewhere along the line even the experiencer also falls off and then you come back to worldly senses after a time lapse. There is also another state which some may refer to as “blissed out” or ecstatic states that come uninvited like the gift from beyond that usually last for a shorter period.

The above two states are fundamentally deep cleansing in nature and leaves one more rooted in consciousness. As that happens, there is an inner alchemy that takes place on its own thus leading one to state of neutrality. By neutrality I mean a natural center that lies beyond good and bad, beyond happiness and sadness. Once you have experienced that reality that one understands the true meaning of non-duality and also one comes to realize that there is a possibility of living in “choiceless awareness” (as J. Krishnamurti calls it)

Everything is impermanent and even these ecstatic states pass on but it leaves wisdom behind for the one who experienced it. I can tell you that "life goes on as usual on the surface of phenomena (painting, writing or whatever) but one gets deeply rooted in the noumena". Or I can quote Chuang Tzu when he says that enlightened beings are "kings in their movement and sages in their stillness". Or as Zen would say “in action time do action” and in “in stillness be totally still”

But there is one difference in quality of action. The actions whether creative or otherwise are more spontaneous than preplanned. If an artist is painting to become famous or rich then that art is a trade just like any other profession. There is nothing wrong in it. However, there could be an art that was done for the sake of art and then it does not matter if it goes to an art gallery or a trash can, that art is an enlightened art. An enlightened art can only be born when the mind is free from the pressures of trade.

The other important point that I want to mention is that often times, artists or writers paint or write in moment of receptivity. Deep meditators often reach a state of deep vacuum or Shunyata and then often times, inspiration comes rushing to fill that vacuum. The inspiration often leads to an enlightened art. There have been numerous Zen masters that have been sublime painters and poets. The tradition of Zen and Taoism is full of such masters that excelled in art as well as poetry. There is form of poetry called the Haiku in Japan which started as a form of mystical poetry with Basho being one of the most well-known Haiku poet. There have been other Zen masters that have been good artists and have exemplified calligraphy. Some names that come to mind are Hakuin, Ryokan, Sesshu and Ikkyu. Zen gardens are also an expression of art. Any one who has visited Kyoto will vouch that Zen gardens are supremely aesthetic and artistic in their design and execution. Zen temples are often art in action.

There was a Russian mystic named Goerge Gurdjieff who made an important point by distinguishing between subjective and objective art. He said that a sunset could be a source of joy for one artist while it could be an onset for darkness for another artist, hence varying their interpretation. Thus, he calls such art as subjective art as each artist can interpret it the way he wants. But then there is something called as objective art that does not leave possibility of interpretations but brings everyone to one same feeling. Sphinx or some statues of deities say Buddha are forms of objective art. The objective art is born out of stillness and meditation. In spoken or written language there will always be barriers. A barrier could be as simple as that I don’t understand Mandarin and you may not understand English. If there is a universal language then that has to be silence and the only other closest substitute can an objective art.

I want to quote a Zen saying to drive my point:

“Before awakening, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers once again rivers”

Jasjit Singh Anand is the author of the hugely popular English Fiction - With a pinch of salt

Once you get a glimpse of truth, mountains or rivers or all objects become magical and sacred. But after deeper realization you come back to life as it was but now you are a different man. This man is free to do what he likes and is liberated. He can write, paint, sing or dance but what he does now will be objective art.

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