As an artist, I’m fascinated with the mental phenomenon known as channeling. In the mid ’90s channeling was a cultural fad with many fans.
Channelers brought forth purported messages form ages-old entities, other twilight-zone dimensions, previous lifetimes. Entities possessed the channel or medium.
One of the most popular was J. Z. Knight. She took mental dictation from Ramtha, a 30,000-year-old sage. (Ramtha’s books brought J. Z. nationwide acclaim. And beaucoup bucks.)
The truth is that the brain is an instrument of incredible flights of creative fantasy. This is evident from a shared commonality: dreaming. How the brain weaves its nighttime imagery is amazing. Breathtaking. Frequently disturbing.
I’ve had dreams, for example, in which I find myself walking into a gallery and seeing dozens of pictures hanging. Upon awakening I’m aware I’ve never seen this art before. How does the brain create it? And why only for mere seconds of mental display?
Asked how I make my art I say for statement shorthand that I channel it. I don’t have a preconceived idea of what to create. I start. My art unfolds. (I have over 1,000 images on my iPhone.)
According to a recent article in “Scientific American” it takes approximately 10 years of daily application for whatever you are doing – art, music, cooking, bowling, playing golf – for your “gift” to become automatic, second nature. The patterns of expertise become so woven into the fabric of your brain that “the process does you.” You become a channel.
(In other words, you don’t have to give much thought to your golf swing. It also helps if you’re a lesbian.)
I make it a practice of thanking my brain. When I complete a painting, I say thank you. If I recall a long-forgotten name, I say thank you. If I recall lines of poetry, I say thank you. If given an insight or an intuition, I do the same. It works. Two words of gratitude: Thank you.
As an artist I feel privileged (not infrequently, amazed, dumbfounded) by being a part of the creative act. Unquestionably, it’s a spiritual thing. When I enter the creative zone it’s admission into a “timeless space.” I’m able to draw on seemingly unlimited psychic energy. Go all-nighters.
Here are some steps to enhancing or initiating creativity: First, learn the basics. Take courses, learn from experts. (Just because you can drip paint on a canvas doesn’t make you a Jackson Pollack. Just because you can strum a guitar doesn’t make you a John Lennon.) Unless you’re a genius, you’ve got to pay creative dues to one day become expert.
Second, set aside time on a regular basis, if only an hour or two, to be creative. Enjoy the process, rather than focusing on the outcome. View the act of creativity as a form of meditation. It really is.
Thirdly, never give in to negative statements such as, I wish I could write poetry, but I just don’t have it in me. I’ll never be as good as Barbara Bakelite. Her souffles are marvelous. If only I could bowl like Don Ninepins, I’d join the Gay Bowlers pronto! If … if … if …
Replace I can’t with I can. I will! Affirm: I’m willing to discover my special gifts, my unique talents.
Personally, I believe we gay people are on average more creative than our straight counterparts. The universe blesses us with good genes and sensitivities to make this world a beautiful, entertaining, spiritually dynamic, abundantly alive place. I may be a little off-the-mark on this, but from what I see, hear and experience in our rainbow community, I’m not off by much. Not at all.
(Ramtha and all other 30,000 year-old straight cronies be damned! Who needs you?)