3/24/15

The Soulful Gentleman



(Note: This post will deal with spirituality and soulfulness from a creative point of view. I am not going to deal with actual religions or faith, but rather mention the soul as the core of the creative process and beauty as a source of inspiration to the soul. With that clear, let’s start.)

Beauty awakens the soul to act.
Dante Alighieri
We have heard time and time again about the importance of having a balance between the mind and the body. You strengthen your body and educate your mind, pretty simple. Yet some other philosophies add a third element to the equation, the spirit. Yet this is a topic most people would rather avoid to avoid the dangerous waters of a conversation about religion or having your beliefs questioned when considering the aspects of spirituality in a world that prizes “practicality.” Yet, by avoiding this important conversation and by prizing practicality we set ourselves up for an unfulfilling and soulless existence that we simply can’t understand.

We can’t understand it simply because we forgot to learn that beauty is the food for the soul. Men are told to be practical, to the point of almost vulgar. Since our birth, we are told over and over how being inspired, being creative, or simply being in awe of the world we live in is a weakness that must be purged from our body.

Be strong, be tough. Art? That’s for wimps. Delicate beauty? You’re tough and you must only like tough things. Sit down, have a drink and wait till that shit passes.

This makes no sense when you consider how every warrior of old would balance his ability to destroy with his ability to create. He would balance all the horrors he saw in the battle field with all the beauty he found in the world. A samurai would spend hours on end simply searching for the perfect blossom. The knight would spend days searching for the right words to express his emotions in a prose. So at what point was being inspired by greatness an unmanly thing? How this came about, I have yet to figure it out.

Since ancient times, creativity was when man would let his gods speak through him and beauty was his gods speaking to him. Even if you don’t believe in a spiritual being, beauty has the ability to stir even the sternest of men, rattle their emotions and remind them they are alive!

At some moment during our lives we forgot to be alive. We work hard, make money, have a family, have success, yet there is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and emptiness that eats you from your core. Why do you think the starving artist wouldn’t give up his art for that steady paycheck? Why do you think the misunderstood musician spends so many hours polishing his craft? They might not be able to pay your rent with art, but you can feed your soul with it.

So what do you do? Do you have to pick one or the other? No. That’s why balance is so important. It’s amusing how many older gentlemen pick up art, or develop their music, or start writing, or simply head out to find explore the world after they retire. They realized how their lives were missing a very important aspect, the ability to see beauty.

What can you to avoid having to wait so long? What can you do to fill that gaping hole within yourself? Learn to view beauty and learn to speak beauty. Look at the world and how wondrous it actually is. Be in awe, not only of nature, but of everything. Amaze at the intricacies of an engine just as you would of a blossom. Listen to music and all its levels and harmonies. Learn to look at a person and see how all their imperfections simply add to their beauty. Because beauty is imperfection. It’s those imperfections that make every experience unique.

Here’s the secret. Force to look at what the beauty within the world. Force yourself to write, to paint, to draw, to pick up that guitar you gave up so long ago when you went to work. Force yourself to be inspired, to feel, to express. Dive head first into that pool of unbridled emotions and learn to sail that storm. Dare to be inspired and tell someone they are beautiful. Gentlemen, never give up an opportunity to see beauty and create beauty, as that is your soul talking to you.