Friday, April 22, 2011

Looking Inward. . . Creative Introspection

I once worked as an Assistant Art Director for a magazine that did interviews around the country. When the reporter came back from doing the interview, we would discuss which photos to use. Once, a conversation between a writer and myself revolved around deciding which direction we should face a portrait photo on the published page. Should the person face left? Right? We were going back and forth about it and he joked, "Why don't we have him look down?" Pretty funny statement for the dry material we were dealing with. To which I replied, "Why don't we have him look inward?" Ever the unwilling mystic, these kinds of statements would slip out of my mouth at times.

Up to about a hundred years ago, people were very, very busy growing their own food, protecting their homes from wild predators and making their own clothes and furniture to think about much else. That kind of focus then was applied to our jobs in the factory and office as culture shifted in that direction. Up until relatively recently in human history, there were usually just a few, isolated individuals who seemed, by some stroke of fate or luck to be able to not have to worry about the daily grind and could indulge in creative and quiet observations about human potential and higher concepts. They were assigned the societal role of "creative type." Yet they were simply doing what we all, always, have had the potential to do, if there had been any energy at the end of the day.

Often, "looking inward" involves prayer or meditation, for which people have traditionally had leaders that taught them how to do those things; what to think about, what the mantra was, who the ultimate hero in the story was, what your focus should be etc etc.

Clearly this is changing. We live in a beautiful new world which is becoming more so everyday, where each person can be their own "guru/priest/teacher/healer" going on their own inner journey to find their spiritual and creative gifts. This is fantastic. Still, it doesn't mean that we don't need teachers or guides. Taking that journey and looking inward has, like it always has had, a lot of ins, outs, ups and downs. It can be good to have a guide or teacher, or more than one at varying times in life.

But one of the most important things to remember when seeking a guide is that the seeking begins within you.

The questions start with you.

The answers will ultimately be found within you.

You may think that looking within yourself is too "simple," or too "close" for it to be significant on a journey as epic as your own life. In truth, inside is where the most promising treasures are waiting for you to discover them, as your true life journey unfolds.

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