Freedom of the Heart
The human heart values freedom and longs to be free. Not only to be free, but also to remain free. You know this—I know this. Whether this freedom involves the literal heart, (which I believe in some way it does), or just figuratively — the heart essentially knows no bounds. Therefore when it feels restrictions, the heart is disconcerted and becomes restless and agitated. I do not know anyone for whom this is not so – do you?
If coupled with intelligent reasoning, the heart will then move us to take action. But often this does not happen — then instead a large part of our life, including many of our conversations, revolves around how we feel due to the sheer restlessness of our heart. At such times we might speak in terms of how we see the world as unjust, unfair, or in some way a shitty place to live. We feel justified in our mind to do this – to see things this way. But all of this complaint is only a thin veneer — a mask for the vulnerability of our heart, in feeling somehow trapped. When cracked open, we all hurt inside somewhere. And this is the hurt we project out onto the world – as if it is doing the hurting. We do this, not with the heart, but with the ever-spinning mind, looking for a way to ease the pain of restriction.
An important job for the artist is to point us toward the senses — for in sensuality we find freedom. Whether the sensuality is visual, (as in painting or sculpture), audial, (as in music, song or speech), in touch, (as in intimacy or sex), in taste and smell, (as in eating), or any mixture of these — it’s through the senses alone that we can really feel free.
The reason for this is that we are ‘touched’ by the senses – not by our intellect. In other words, the experience reaches out to us on either a physical or an emotional level, and we engage with it using our emotions – our feelings, rather than with our faculty of reasoning and intellect. Even reading about sensual matters will touch our emotions. So, although reading itself is an activity of the intellectual mind, the thoughts, feelings and images that arise as a consequence are of the senses. This is why reading certain things can touch the heart profoundly — because the writer is engaging not only the head of his reader, but also the whole body sensually — especially the heart.
Humans are sensual beings — not much different in certain ways to our cats and dogs. Maybe this is why we surround ourselves with such creatures — to remind us of our sensuality lest we forget. We rarely feel criticised by our pets, or feel the need to excuse ourselves. Yet this is how we often feel around other people – as we engage with them mainly on an intellectual level.
The Internet began with a simple mathematical concept, (involving the use of one and zero), and grew both technologically and intelligently from that source. So it’s essentially head stuff. But as human beings who make use of the Internet in connecting with others like ourselves, if we do not reach out to each other’s hearts – heart to heart — we miss the point. Consequently the Internet will eventually drain our life force — rather than enhance it.
Interestingly we owe the concept of the Internet, even that of the original computer, primarily to one man, an Englishman named Alan Turing. During the Second World War, for the love of a dead friend and his country, this young man devised a concept to break the complex codes generated by a Nazi message-encoding machine — the breaking of which codes was absolutely essential for the survival of his fellow countrymen (and indeed the known world) — in freedom. This was no concept of the intellect — but rather was pure heart motivation. Here was a living example of a heart that knew no bounds in order to gain and maintain freedom for all. From this source the binary system was developed, and the very first hand-cranked computer came into being. From there everything we now know as the Age of Technology sprang and developed. So with the Internet we are essentially using a system built by the intellect – but initiated and driven by the heart. Right from its inception it was motivated by love — including the love of freedom.
The intelligent mind has a rightful place — as a tool. But never make the mistake of over-identifying with that part of your self. You are not a tool — you only make use of tools. You are not even your senses — but you experience the world by means of them. The senses are, in fact, your real connection to the real world. And the mind, if you like, is the tool we use to make intellectual sense of the reality we experience through the senses. But experience itself is always sensual.
Art, in whatever form it comes — visual, audial, touch, taste, or smell — can communicate with us at a deeper level of self than that reached by the reasoning mind, by the intellectual mind. That level is the level of the heart – and is akin to what we might call a sixth sense. That is why, whether we call ourselves an artist or not, whenever we engage with art — either in making the communication or receiving it — we are somehow drawn a little closer to the freedom of our heart — closer to our true nature as human beings. Also, the more we are in touch with this true nature, the more we will relate to the art of others who are also in touch with theirs.
With all artistic pursuits — whether visual, musical, littoral, theatre, film, etc — there is a broad spectrum ranging from relatively superficial entertainment to deep and meaningful spiritual entrainment. We simply choose from the menu in accord with where we are inside at that point. There’s no need to judge any of it – either with regard to others or ourselves. We take what we need according to who we are, (or more accurately, according to who we perceive ourselves be). Everyone does. Art will then go on to shape our sense of who we are – again not so much through our reasoning, but through our senses. In effect we are humanly processed by the art with which we engage — as well as the experiences we undergo.
So slowly, inch by inch, we move away from the bounds of our thinking mind — the mind that boxes us in by means of the stories it makes up about the world — in order to make some sense out of it. And slowly we leave our imagined stories and move closer toward the real freedom we seek — closer to the heart of the matter. Piece by piece we take apart our mind’s construction of who we are and what the world is to us. Eventually what remains is simply freedom — the freedom of a heart of love.