Why Creating Art is Essential for Mental Health

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If I were to tell you that there was activity that you could do that was not only fun, but would also bring you into a meditative state, put you in connection with you intuition, provide flow states and develop virtues in you such as patience, discipline, and a kindness for yourself AND would also boost your self esteem and feed your soul, would you believe me?

It sounds too good to be true, but the benefits of having a creative/Artistic practice, are that righteous and there are many more blessings to be bestowed.

If you carry the archetype of the artist then you know that the ordeals in your life are the food for your soul to eat, and that there is a soul-digestion process that happens, in a similarly metaphoric way to the digestion process of food.

Your life’s experience and its lessons are meant to be absorbed into you and shared through the process of creation- it has to be first soaked in saliva, chewed down to bits, burned in a pool of acid and passed through many different channels to have all the good stuff sucked out and integrated, and all the shit you don’t need, well, to become shit…which has a bad reputation but in Jungian psychology, shit is a symbol for money. T

hink about it, what do all plants grow in and thrive in? Shit. Shit has immense value in providing nutrients for plantlife to grow, and its the plants that feed us once more, and its plants that we shit out and return, and its all one great big cycle of life.

The creative process for artists can act like the digestive process for our life’s experience, and the product of our creative process (our dance, our film, our music, our scupture, paintings, poems, etc) is like the golden excrement filled with nutrients that belongs to others to nourish their souls and help them grow.

New science by Dr. Gabor Mate & Vessel Van Der Kolk tells us that mental illness grows out of unhealed, unprocessed trauma that gets stuck in the body and becomes toxic (much like food would, rotting inside us if our food never went through the refinement process of digestion).

The new science of epigenetics also tells us that we can inherit unhealed trauma in our DNA from our ancestors. So even if you yourself have not experienced trauma, you could be taking on the trauma of your ancestors, and its time we learn how to process those experiences so that they do not become toxic in us, and in doing so we can also offer gifts of nutrients to others.

One of my favourite authors/teachers/mentors Stephen Jenkinson answers the question of ‘What lifts art out of craft and into art’? In his book ‘Money & the Souls Desires’, and he says that craft becomes art when the artists soul starts to come into view, that is to say that once we are able to put that transcendental life’s force into the work we are doing are we truly making art.

How does one do this? Through following their intuition.

What is intuition?

In a general sense intuition is our inner knowing. It is our soul’s knowing. It is deeply connected to the body and the felt sensations of emotions, and can also be experienced as a still small voice, or as symbols in our dreamtimes.

In a more spiritual sense, our intuition is actually our communication from the all knowing, all loving spirit from which we all originated.

You’ve all heard great artists say that they try to become channels for spirit, and that’s what this means.

Just because you have intuition doesn’t mean that it is easy to listen to it. Your intuition is a badass! Your intuition is righteous and operating in a state that transcends this world we live in, and you know its your intuition speaking when its instructions scare the shit (haha) out of you!

Thus, to become a humble servent, a humble artist, a slave to god we must possess the humility, courage, patience, persistence, obedience to our intuition. In essence, we must become very, very human. Very vulnerable. Unusally open. Our creative process becomes our spiritual process.

The process of creation is different for every creator but no creator can get away without quiet focused, work.

In these moments of flow states, of concentration and of listening to your intuition, these moments become prayers.

In a spiritual sense, we know that we are always connected to source, and bringing it into our lives in a matter of us opening up in certain ways and letting it out. Prayer and meditation are the two main ways to let spirit flow out of you in into your life, and in your work. These things are happening simultaneously when you are creating! It doesn’t require you to kneel at an alter praying to a faraway god in some church filled with priests who claim to be the only people who have access to god. When you are making art you are kneeling at the alter of your own soul, your own life, the sovereign experience that you have had, and your own personal connection to your self, which is god incarnate.

This creative process that connects you to spirit will help to give you self esteem and self-regard because you are actually stating to recognize yourself as a microcosm of source, which is the truth, rather than viewing yourself through cultural/societal lenses that would have you believe that you are less than, or other. A creative/spiritual practice help anchors your in the realization of your oneness with spirit, and the beauty and power that comes along with that.

In a spiritual sense, prayer is very effective for spiritual healing. Spiritual healing is what happens when we start to allow the regenerative, vital force of spirit into our lives and let it do its work.

Spirit doesn’t want you to suffer, for if you are suffering, you are incapacitated, and if you are incapacitated, you won’t be able to live your purpose.

So when we start to unleash spirit into our lives, spirit puts things in order, fortifies you, brings you clarity of mind, insight, wisdom, peace and good humour. These are all healing elements of spriirt that not only help you to become a better artist but also enrich your life and help you make meaning out of the circumstances and stories of your life.

Yogi said : consciousness isn’t taught, its caught!

I love this quote because its the essence of why we have to show our art and share it, because the energy and quality of the prayer that we were in while creating the piece, will be encapsulated in the piece of art itself, and the soul of the human being who gets to witness it will hopefully be receptive enough to catch the vibe of spirit, and inspire them, touch them, move them in the most intimate way-spiritually. Art tells the truth, it give us inspiration , understanding, these are all essential things that human beings need.

It is super important to process our trauma so that we can prevent mental illness. One thing I love so much about Jungian psychology is that it shares a shamanic world view that we have souls, are souls, and those souls have some universal needs, and those universal needs are what make us human. We need to express, to be listened to, to be witnessed, to feel all the feelings of our life. That’s what living is. We cant deny our life experience, it is everything, to deny it would be to live outside of reality, which is insantiy.

Art is a spiritual act that brings us into a shared experience and reality and helps us commune with one another. Good relationships are at the core of mental health, and the relationship with yourself is number one. When you create art you are being with yourself, you are allowing yourself space to learn, to grow, to pray, to feel, you are accepting yourself for who you are, developing a voice, and creating catharsis.

Engaging with and embracing your creative energy is so exciting because it also only works if you are in a state of play. Good art requires you to be relaxed and open, and having a good time. All of these things improve the state of your mental health.

So don’t be shy! Get out there and start expressing, because it is a human need to share and it is another human need to receive! Its the gift that gives twice.

Love you guys,

Dayle

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