Metaphysics Art Buddhism

Metaphysics, Art & Buddhism

There is a golden thread woven through every religious tradition and mystery school. Although at first glance many world religions seem to be at odds with one another, serious study reveals a unity of fundamental truths lie buried in their core. This is what is known as the ageless wisdom and it has been with us for millennia.

For centuries, this knowledge was protected or hidden from the mass population, often by priests or governments ostensibly for their own good. Secret societies such as the Rosicrucian’s, Free Masons, Knights Templar, as well as the Druids, Sufi’s, Kabbalists, and the Essenes, guarded these secret truths. Like Buddhism, they were passed down orally from generation to generation. Some of these truths were allowed to filter out to the masses just after the turn of the last century, but much of it had to be highly disguised in symbolism and code.

The introduction of Tibetan Buddhism to the West in the 1960’s marked a change in that pattern. This new American dharma (a term coined by Llama Surya Das) began making available any knowledge that would help humanity empower itself spiritually. My own introduction to Buddhism began as a child when a sleeping disorder began a four-decade practice of Tibetan Dream Yoga.

The tools of Tibetan Buddhism and The Ageless Wisdom are not new age. I prefer to think of them as “new edge”.

Many of these ideas are the foundations of quantum physics and Vajrayana Buddhism, commonly known as Buddhist Tantra.

One of the most basic yet profound truths of the ageless wisdom is “energy follows thought”. This has been rephrased many ways; thoughts are things, you are what you think about, you create your own reality, etc. Each of us is a vehicle for universal energy. This energy manifests itself as light and is formless. It is our thoughts, beliefs, and intentions that give that energy form. Buddhism follows a slightly different formula; kindness in thoughts creates energy. If you add a sense of service to something larger than yourself, you’ve added the wings of intention.

Nowhere do we find this amalgamation of energy into matter as strong as it is in the arts. For seventeen years of my career as an artist I collaborated with the late American painter, Gage Taylor. As this kind of synergy is rare among artists, we were invited to share what he and I did together and teach artists how to be successful as artists.

Traveling as guests of the U.S. State Dept. and going into places with an anti-American sentiment, we met and worked with hundreds of artists. This program use to be under the jurisdiction of the United States Information Agency after they noted that there is a universal art spirit that, once shared, transcends the work of dozens of politicians. (These were invitational tours as part of the Arts America program).

Gage Taylor and I observed impeccably painted work collect dust on walls, and we observed paintings rendered with unbelievably poor skill sell like crazy.

Without fail, when we met the non-selling artists, they were angry at the world and felt the world owed them a living.

When we met the artist who’s work sold, we would encounter a joyful, spirit-filled human who loved what he was doing, loved people, and was filled with gratitude. They also had a sense of service to something larger than himself.

Those two conflicting attitudes are reflections of the power of intention. “Intention” is what we have when we combine our desire with a sense of purpose, consciously or not, to accomplish a goal. The more clear our sense of service, the more dynamic our intentions become. The stronger the light coming through us becomes, the stronger the purpose, and the faster our thoughts manifest themselves.

When the conscious mind has one intention and the subconscious mind has another, we create whichever intention carries the stronger emotional charge.

In the examples of the success, or lack of success, with the two artists above, we see how their intention was going out as energy and manifesting themselves in the art. The energy you are channeling as you create stays in that piece of art forever. You can paint a nice picture, but people will feel the anger subconsciously and not want to be around it, much less buy the painting.

This intention also manifests itself in the joy of collecting as well as visiting museums. To stand in front of a painting in which the artist has mastered the “flow” allows you to feel you are in telepathic communion with that artist, i.e. spirit. (There is no word for this in English. In Sanskrit, it is known as the “rasa.”)

In 1987, the largest grossing gallery in the world (at that time) contacted Gage Taylor and I and dangled all the right carrots. Consequently, we moved at great personal expense to Maui. Five days after we got there, our gallery was on “60 Minutes” for fraud! This gallery also had a year’s worth of our work that they would not give back. (“A glitch in our matrix”, one might say).

We had rented a beautiful oceanfront condo and studio and tried to keep to our regular painting pace, stay out of fear, and not think about how living in the islands was like throwing money into a volcano. We always had more than one of our collaborative paintings going at a time and each of us worked on the work regularly.

There was one painting in particular that every time I would work on I would be thinking, “It’s really beautiful here, but can we afford it”?

When Gage was working on that very same painting, (unbeknownst to me), he was also thinking, “Man it’s beautiful here, but can we afford it”?

When the painting was finished it went to our former gallery on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Although this is a very prosperous area of Los Angeles, several people who stood in front of that painting said out loud, almost in trance, “It’s very beautiful, but can I afford it?” It became such a mantra for that painting that our gallery called us to see what was going on. (This is where you go into a meditation and edit the script.)

Several months later, Gage and I decided to do a little experiment with the principles of success that we had so often shared with artists. Prior to this time, our collaborations were in Gage’s style and signed with both our full names… names recognized by collectors.

Combining both of our styles, we entered a major national competition (only 75 artists chosen out of nearly 800 entries) in Bellevue, Washington. We signed this painting with the name TAYLOR-DANA, and a new look, a new signature, a new synergy was born. We were accepted.

To validate what we were teaching worked; we really wanted this painting to sell. The entire time the exhibit was up, we kept repeating to ourselves, “We really want this painting to sell in Bellevue, Washington”. Well, it did not sell… not until a few months after the show. Only then, when a couple from Bellevue, Washington came to Hawaii on vacation. Even though they lived a few blocks from the exhibit, they had never seen our painting until they visited our studio months later!

“If you expect bad things to happen to you, they do. If you expect wonderful things to happen to you, they do. Our thoughts broadcast to the world everything we believe in about our world and ourselves. How we live, where we live, our experiences, our appearance, our friends, are all manifestations of the film we have written, cast, and produced. It’s important to remember we can edit that film, re-write its script, or even re-cast ourselves just by changing the lighting in our hearts.”

We are all learning as we go, so be gentle with yourself and others.


Featured Image: Enlightenment & Purrsuasion, Oil on Canvas, 16″ Diameter, by Uriél Dana & Gage Taylor (died 2000). © 1996-2017 Uriél Dana.