by Nick Andrea
Security. Is this the path of the artist? Most of us have been relentlessly pursuing it since the day of our birth, the day we left the Garden of Eden for this cold, demanding world, fraught with perils and uncertainty at every turn. And, for many of us we have achieved it (or at least the illusion, thereof) when we were willing to embody the ethics of a gangster, the obsessive need to please others, or the debilitating fear of being original. Unfortunately, however, the pursuit of security is not the providence of the seeker of truth and beauty, whose path is marked by an all-or-nothing commitment to being a creative instrument of Nature.
Authenticity. I recently asked a friend how she successfully navigated life as a painter. She replied, “by enduring lots of fear and poverty and feeling unqualified for anything else.” I asked the same question to my spiritual mentor, whose full-time job is seeing a handful of people every week who pay out of pocket for his time. His response was more or less the same. He also told me that up until the age of fifty his parents continued to tell him that he needed to “get a real job.” The day they stopped is the day he asked them if they thought living three steps away from pauperism, in order to live authentically in a society that fundamentally did not value what he had to offer, was easy. Enough said.
Non-Attachment. Eckhart Tolle completely ran out of money one month before his bestselling book, The Power Of Now, came out. On an intuition he bought a lottery ticket which won him $1200, carrying him through his final month of complete financial surrender; and we all know how that one turned out. Does that mean we have to become poor to find an audience for our creative gifts? No, but Eckhart Tolle’s courage begs the question, “What are we willing to risk for an authentic life?”