This post is the first chapter of Painting A Pathway Home, by Ross Drago. Painting A Pathway Home is designed to encourage visual thinkers and spiritual seekers to use the act of painting as a means to bring about spiritual awakening. Works of art can be windows of opportunity for receptive viewers to gain tremendous spiritual ground in their own journey toward a realization of their true Self.
As with awakening itself, no words can describe the teachings intrinsic to that state, and no words can teach what painting itself teaches. Indeed, I have found through a lifetime of painting, that painting itself is a master teacher, an intelligence that works with whomever opens to this spiritual act. This Masterful Intelligence used to be seen as inspired by the Muses, but this source of inspiration has since lost it’s meaning in the modern aesthetic of a disposable world. This world is largely devoid of consciousness of the living spirit in objects, places and even processes such as painting. To believe that there is no living spirit in things and places and planets and even minerals and elements is a blind spot designed to facilitate indifference to the world we inhabit.
I am writing this BLOG based on my book Painting a Pathway Home. Painting can be a natural awakening process. The act of painting has the power to depolarize the painter , which will be described in later chapters of this BLOG. Painting leaves the artist in a state of equilibrium, which is, at least, a temporarily awakened state. Not only can it awaken the artist to the true Self, the conscious witness of one’s life, but it simultaneously celebrates being this Awareness.
With every power structure throughout human history, it is the artists who are first captured and controlled through force or economic coercion by the new power. Controlling the art controls the direction that the prevailing power intends to impose on the society. This BLOG and my forthcoming book are an attempt to remind creative people that within them is the power to transform this world blighted by a judgmental brain motivated by fear into a world held by a receptive heart, which is connected to the Oneness. Painting is above all, beholding.
Originally, the process of allowing an image to unfold was of the highest spiritual order of things. It took place in caves, such as those of Lasceaux and Alta Mira, depicting bison and animals that a tribe hunted for winter survival. So important was this hunt to the survival of a tribe through harsh winter, that it aroused in people their highest abilities, the ability to physically assure their survival and a good hunt through literally manifesting bison. It is within the human spirit to have the power to manifest what it is we need. Our world, made from earth and stone, water, fire and air, is a monumental testimony to that ability. All that we see has been manifested by our desire to make whatever we desire come into being. The forms around us came from the hearts of dreamers and artists, just as the cave artists manifested prey to stay alive.
In Alta Mira, the artists went deep into the caves, to the pitch darkness of the Sacred Void itself, from which springs all expressions of Consciousness. There, kneeling in the Void, a tribesman passed a flame close to the roughly textured walls of the cave, slowly moving from here to there. I believe the artist ( The one who made visible the invisible world of spirit ) watched the wall, until he or she saw the spirit of a bison suddenly appear. Quickly he brought this ethereal spirit down in frequency through the use of black and brown stones, red and ocher stones that crumbled and left their marks, each stroke delivering this ethereal ( still in the ether ) Bison Spirit down in frequency to the lower vibration of the physical world. (I imagine that along with the visual artist was a music maker who beat a drum of lowest vibrations to assist in transforming the spirit frequency down into the material frequency through rhythm and deep sounds.) This is why it never mattered that one bison was drawn or painted superimposed over another. This was not a visual work of art, it was a manifestation process. Wherever the spirit of the next bison appeared in the flickering light, regardless of what was already there, was where it had to be drawn. It was in this ritual manifestation that the first artist captured the spirit of his subject. It was a literal fact.
In the world outside of the cave, they had already struck an agreement, telepathically, with the spirit of the bison which they had called in. This bison was now willing to give itself back, willingly returning a life for a life.
As this ability to manifest what we needed to survive became forgotten, so did the instruments of taking the manifest bison change from sacred ritual tools into actual weapons, designed to bring an animal, or later, a human down against its will. In this way, weapons became symbols of fear, and the ritual nature of them was transformed into what we have today, a world almost totally devoid of conscious manifestation for the good of the whole. Instead, ours is a world of unconscious manifestations, manufacturing goods that are regarded as soulless, without spirit. In this manufacturing world, there is only the way of the will. The artist has the choice to remain true, difficult as this may be, to the way of the spirit as a more powerful means of staying in harmony with his or her world.
As this ability to manifest faded in our memories, so the role of the artist began to shift as well. No longer was the artist a key instrument in human survival, through the power to manifest what his or her society needed, but was now a means of recognizing and celebrating the human spirit at best, and at least, a way to decorate a wall.
This ability of the creative soul to manifest reality has always been dominated by those who took power. As the Catholic Church gained power, it seized the artists and literally forced them into the service of the vision they put forth over all of the pre-existing visions of reality. The Catholic Church absorbed the artist’s reality manifesting ability into the service of the Church. Without Papal approval, both the artist’s work and the artist’s life were in danger of being decreed heresy. This was a death sentence. Symbolism was of absolute controlled prescription. “This saint’s hand shall be held in this manner, with a white dove facing in this direction. His feet shall be standing upon a serpent of the color green, and in the heavens…”So went the commissions of the artists who were saved by the Catholic Church to create a vision of each story, in order to manifest this reality in the hearts of mankind. The Church had never forgotten this ability of artists to manifest new realities, and if a secret existed within the church it would surely be that they controlled the power to manifest the very reality we lived in through controlling the creative spirits of the artists themselves.
When the church faded in its power, surrendering to the musculature of the corporation, the artists shifted from representing the church to stay alive, to representing manufactured products and services as their only creative avenue for reliable income. Newspapers, then radio ( as writers and actors in commercials), and then television commercials became many artists’ way of staying alive and raising a family using their talents. Their new orders were no longer the Holy Orders of The Vatican, but came from the Corporation. Still burned into my mind from the Milton Berle television show were the men from Texaco. In this advertisement the shiny, new automobile pulls up to a gasoline station pump. Instantly six or eight men dressed in Texaco uniforms with police like hats dance out and surround the car, each tending to their specialty, one wiping the windows, one polishing the car, one checking the oil, one pumping the gas and all in unison singing, “I wipe the glass, I check the oil, I fill the gas..” moving on to “Oh we’re the men from Texaco, we work from Maine to Mexico, there’s nothing like this Texaco of ours! …Tonight we may be show men, tomorrow we’ll be servicing your car!”
The very idea that it was these dancing, singing men who would be servicing my father’s car if we went to a Texaco gasoline station was astounding to me as a young boy. That is the power of reality changing and it comes from the artists who wrote music and choreographed a visual performance designed to lift any viewer into joy, but alas, it was the joy of using Texaco gasoline and having your car filled with gasoline. We all know by now, where filling our cars with gasoline leads us as a manifested reality.
Today the artist depicts a world of happiness in old age, because of this product or that, and misery without it. Automobile ads and pharmaceutical drugs cram shoulder to shoulder between the acts where we are given snippets of theater as a lure to feed our hungry hearts with something beautiful. The programs give us absurdity and fun or terror, while the ads give us sound reason and the joys of life we are hoping to find in the programs we watch. Realities become manifested, and a given product rises into the new thrown of power as the major supplier of this drug or that. It’s all in advertising, they say. Once a major detergent corporation thought themselves to be so embedded in the American psyche that they stopped their constant ads. Their sales dropped to nearly nothing almost immediately. It is the artist who creates the imagery and scenarios that keep these corporations alive. Advertising that does not use some creative active spirit to design their ads are painfully visible to the public, and do more harm to their sales than good. My point here is not to blame artists for the advertising world’s existence. People, especially new parents, do whatever they need to do in order to create a life for their families. My intention is to make clear that the spirit of the artists are being exploited in order to manifest the realities of the “powers that be.” At the same time, in the same society, the arts are made out to be of no serious consequence to anyone, de-funded from schools, while most artists are not supported by sales of their art work.
We have reached a time in human consciousness wherein the artist and society can begin to value their own authentic knowing which comes with spiritual awakening, more than the billions of objects that industrial society believed it desired and needed. Inner peace and spiritual truth are becoming increasingly important to our survival as a species. Unconsciousness and fear have been allowed to run their course and have been given enough rope to hang themselves. New consciousness of the whole, and a spirit of trust must rise up and make its light visible and assume its influence over fear and unconsciousness. Only genuine compassion and caring for ourselves and for one another can restore this world to where it must be in order to survive. It is a time, in short, when the creative spirits of the world, who now number more than ever imagined, can use their ability to manifest reality, to manifest a reality that is love born, and bring into being a reality that serves and reveres life.
If artists have been shielding their own light for these centuries due to survival threats, now is the time to use this power to generate and manifest visions based on a celebration of being, because our survival depends on it. Painting is our pathway to awakening to our true Self; and it is a way of delivering our vision of uncreated possibilities and witnessing this present moment as joyful and complete. So powerful is this gift, that it can bring rain to the desert, and cleanliness back to the oceans and the air. The energy stored in works of art, which are consciously and lovingly created, can then spread to all those who are willing to look and see what is before them. The vision of the artist gives viewers the experience of allowing their subconscious to know that such a vision is possible in form. Once seen, there is no stopping that vision from being manifested. The energy of the specific artist’s creation is the energy that it delivers into the viewer. A work of art has the power to act like a filter in a lake of human consciousness, slowly but surely delivering clarity and inner knowing to all of humanity.
Ross G. Drago
From his soon to be released book, Painting A Pathway Home
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