There is a certain irony being in New York City, surrounded by the marvelous creations of the human mind, much of it brilliant, plenty that is not, singing in my hotel room about the temporal nature of it all. Viewing the city from atop the Rockefeller Center it all seems here to stay, the towers taken out on 9/11 just a tiny fraction of the whole landscape. A lot of faith has been placed in granite, marble and steel. Architecture, art, music, theater, fashion, food –humans are very creative, so many ideas to express. What is it about the artists who take their art to the bigger questions? Is that what makes the great art great? Is it the connection to life and death and here and hereafter and peace and pain and love and God? Some art, while clever and entertaining, feels shallow, while some art is actually heart wrenching and soul touching. What about the great ones who make us laugh?
The artists show us another way of looking at the world, at life, our experience, our relationships. It’s not just the piece of art that moves us, although it may be beautiful or executed with amazing technical skill. It is the artist’s experience we feel and what it evokes within ourselves, the resonance, the connection. We see the world the way they saw it, we begin to appreciate the small everyday sights and sounds differently. The artists capture a feeling we recognize or they help us understand in a way we didn’t understand before or question in a way we didn’t question before. There are countless creative innovators and inventors–painters, sculptors, philosophers, singers, photographers, composers, performers, designers, writers, teachers–the great ones move us just the same.
The artists show us life. Art matters, life matters more. The art is just what remains of the experience, and becomes a reflection of the experience the next participant brings. Is art for collecting or is art for living? Bringing the art to the life brings the art to life. Living the life is the art.
What happens when the artist is a great Guru? How do the Guru’s songs touch this 21st century life? This project could easily become a checklist to complete, but it is richer to take the songs in, apply them where they matter, imprint the vision of the artists, look at what they have shown us, seek to see the way they saw. What would the Guru artist see here now?