BY Harold Boulette
“What is it, then, which distinguishes the outlook of great poets and artists from the arrogant subjectivism of common sense? Innocence and humility distinguish it. These persons prejudge nothing, criticize nothing. To some extent, their attitude to the universe is that of children: and because this is so, they participate to that extent in the Heaven of Reality. … The greater the artist is, the wider and deeper is the range of his pure sensation: the more sharply he is aware of the torrent of life and loveliness, the rich profusion of possible beauties and shapes. He always wants to press deeper and deeper, to let the span of his perception spread wider and wider; till he unites with the whole …” ~Evelyn Underhill
Great poets, artists, musicians and philosophers do indeed have a different way of looking at things, as do prophets and mystics. It is not by coincidence that many of the greatest artists have also been very spiritual people. The great twentieth century poet Kahlil Gibran was also a spiritual teacher, not just through his writings, but he had students who learned spiritual truths from him, or at least the techniques for awakening spiritual faculties so that they could learn those truths on their own. Another great poet, Rumi, is also recognized as a great spiritual teacher. Even poets and song writers who are not particularly spiritual may occasionally be influenced by a muse who is actually a spiritual being. I think some of the songs of Bob Dylan and The Moody Blues fall into that category, just to name a few.
Ms. Underhill tells us that these people have a childlike innocence and humility that allows them to see things differently. This is what Jesus was talking about when he advised his disciples to be more like children. I don’t think it is really that these people are as innocent as children, but rather their humility and wisdom prevents them from judging every one and everything, so they appear to be innocent.
Beyond poets and writers, we can look at painters and sculptors as additional examples of this. The really great ones like Michelangelo or Vincent van Gogh have something in their works that we can not quite identify, but it mesmerizes us, it grabs us and won’t let go. That something is a hint of the spiritual, a strong statement that there is something beyond the mere physical, beyond the outward appearance of things. Many of these great artists were either true spiritual students or had an occasional glimpse of the higher realms which is reflected in their work.
Underhill goes on to tell us that such people are never satisfied with what little truth has been revealed to them; they are always seeking to go deeper and wider, to expand their consciousness. To become more and more aware of what is real and what is illusion and to seek to expand those faculties that can reveal the hidden truths that lie beyond the mere physical We can all learn from this attitude. There are too many who become content with knowing just enough to do their jobs and survive in the material world. But that world is slowly changing and will not exist too much longer, so all of us need to be preparing for the new world of spirit that will be here in the new Golden Age that is dawning now.
This article was previously published on the Solar Wind blog.