November 28, 2005

Fresh Divinity

I was reading a Lance Esplund review of a new biography of Henri Matisse by Hillary Spurling. The painter is quoted in the review: "The artist or the poet possesses an interior light which transforms objects to make a new world of them...a living world which is in itself an infallible sign of divinity, a reflection of divinity." Esplund notes a conversation between the artist and Sister Jacques-Marie, a former Matisse model who later became a nun: "When Sister Jacques protested that she had understood Matisse to be directly inspired by God Almighty, he said gently, 'yes, but that god is me.'"

So often God Almighty exists as an externally projected mental construct. Matisse seems to take this God Almighty, as a superfluous third-party gently out of the equation. I suspect that while painting Matisse dissolved the whole equation. Not only was God Almighty in absentia even Matisse was not there, and only the sacred, naked act of painting was happening.

Exactly the same divinity which Matisse expresses in his painting, you have inside you in full measure. In what ways are you expressing your divinity, which can shine in the humblest of creative acts? In the creative act, both you and all projected God Almightys dissolve. Only the mystery, the fresh, self existing act of creation is present. We spend our whole life trying to control our world, including our creative expressions. After the study and discipline, the creative act can be released and allowed to remain out of our personal control. At some point we drop the compulsion to control, and allow...

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