I believe very strongly that every piece of truly great art came from that witnessing presence and state of Being that we reach for in our meditation practice. The art that comes from the memories, thought and the mind are like replicas and imitations of what has already been produced by others. I do believe that art brings the world together more than any belief system be it religion, politics or economic class. Art transcends all boundaries in its infinite forms, whether through music, dance, film, writing, poetry and beyond. I have listed below a few of my favourite doorways into the world outside of your home that continue with this legacy to unite.
If you miss art and museums, you may like these, which include virtual tours of some of the most famous galleries and museums on the planet. For you theatre people out there needing a break from Netflix, try this. You may also find some nice recipes here as Vegan Life and Plant Based, two well-known magazines are letting us have their digital magazines for free during this period.
For music, there is a nice collection here including live-streams to classical and opera performances. Try this for some incredible dance music, live-streamed from the world famous club scenes in Berlin. Should you wish to discover some more “new” music, I would suggest almost anything that gets your feet tapping or your mind transported into those spaces that your meditations take you. Here are some artists who do that for me, along with an album or two of their albums that I would suggest for a taster.
- Anything by Miles Davis – try Kind of Blue for a starter if not yet familiar with his work. And then, anything else by him. Miles Davis and the rest of the band would have had to have been in the Zone, free of their thoughts in order to have produced music of that caliber (in Kind of a Blue).
- Keith Jarret – The Koln Concert, and then anything else he has ever produced. Almost always performing in a meditative like trance state, humming and focused enough to be totally oblivious of the audience. Sublime.
- Prince (or the Artist formerly known as Prince). Listen to Purple Rain and then anything else you can find by him. Pure genius in every sense of the word.
- Anything you can find on Anouar Brahem who blends Arabic music into Eastern and Western music styles, collaborating with almost any artist he likes from any part of the world creating wonderfully haunting pieces. His style probably falls into the Jazz genre if that’s important to you.
- Hariprasad Chaurasia – anything at all produced by this incredible flutist. With pieces of music used in many pieces of meditations and in Ashrams all over the world. Try his contribution to Zakir Hussein’s Making Music album, where together with the saxophone player, Jan Gabarek, something purely magical is created.
I can feel nothing but guilt for even attempting to produce a list like this because it assumes the exclusion of the countless other musicians out there from Guns N’Roses and James Brown to Edward Elgar and Puccini. The artists listed above are but samples of what can come from this space that exists beyond the conditioned mind – literally, the creation of the fresh and the new as opposed to the reinterpretation and recycling of the “old” over and over again. The list of great artists is an unending list that I am sure you know more about then me. Please do write to me if you would like to share your music tastes.
One question that may arise for many people reading this is the reason why so many great artists have suffered from mental health problems or substance abuse if they were so tuned into this space and zone. My theory and belief here is that in the producing and performing of the piece of art, they found ways of aligning themselves to that creative energy within themselves but often left that space and stepped into their thinking minds the moment they left their stage or creative studios. We “lost” many great artists in this way, from Robin Williams, Prince, Kurt Cobain, Amy Whitehouse and George Michael to Jim Morrison, Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Billie Holiday. The list goes on and on and I hope that artists begin to one day understand this connection between their creative genius and this so called “creative zone” within them that is that space beyond the reach of their conditioned thoughts.
I do feel that this Ted Talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love is quite insightful into the connection between Creativity and that space that meditation allows us to tap into, even though it may not refer specifically as meditation as such a tool. This particular Ted Talk is also a little bit weird in that it seems to imply at times, some supernatural source from which creativity comes from, but I believe that whether or not we wish to interpret it in this way, it could just as easily refer to that “witnessing presence” that we arrive at when meditating. That space outside of the conditioned mind from which that “newness” is found. Have a listen when you get a chance and decide for yourself:
Mindfulness and meditation is just one of the ways in which all of us can more consistently stay within this zone, where creative genius and that spontaneity that makes comedic timing and the melodic rhythm and timing we find in many of pieces of music listed above so possible. The melodic harmony that was achieved in music albums such as Making Music, Kind of Blue and Purple Rain where the musicians ability to improvise their instruments and sometimes voices in ways so fresh would achieve the levels of vibrational perfection that we hear. Creating music that inspires every single one of us in its ability to achieve such harmony, perhaps paving an image of a future where humans will also live harmoniously with each other and nature to create a sustainable world, where there is less of a need to exploit each other, the animals, trees or planet and all live together more peacefully, each understanding exactly what note to play, and with that exact perfect timing these musicians achieved.