Creating From a Deeply Personal Place

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths—Joseph Campbell

Van Gogh´s Starry Night. I believe Van Gogh well understood how to draw from his inner world of myth.

Isn’t life strange? The fact that we are conscious and operating in this field of space and time, that we have brains, which are some of the more complicated systems on our planet, is very…strange.

What a wonder it is to be alive.

Buddhists say that everything is “maya”, translated to mean “illusion”.

Our senses are very limiting. How we perceive reality, through our five senses, is dictated by the design of our sensory organs. We know that there are other ways of perceiving “reality”.

A bat is virtually blind and flies at night! Can you imagine what a sonar based reality must be like?

A shark has similar powers and, in addition, can smell a single drop of blood in a million gallons of water.

When the hubble telescope looks at space through its ultraviolet lens, we see that space is very colorful.

Through our limited senses, we can do none of these things.

However, we humans are capable of perceiving realities that are “other” than our waking conscious life. We do so in our dreams. We, humans, have the rich ability to transcend (or go under) our present consciousness and enter into the world of myth.

In our dreams, our terrors are invoked, as are our hidden aspirations and desires. Image and symbol are the language forms in dream. All sorts of “voices” speak to us in this realm. Symbol, presented as image, has the potential to possess layers upon layers of meaning. A cross, an age-old tool of torture, is, for Christians, a symbol of sacrifice. Those two crossed lines, for many, evoke powerful emotions.


People have given the object meaning.

Joseph Campbell was often asked the meaning of life, to which he would respond that there is no meaning—you give it meaning.

What a powerful thought.

To me, this translates to mean that if you want a meaningful life, you give it meaning, you fill it with meaning. In filling your life with personal meaning, it is a very meaningful life. Make sense?

A groom’s ring is just a round piece of metal until the couple fill it with personal meaning.

Create from your personal meaning. Draw upon your personal life experiences. Tap into the subconscious of your mind and create from that (See my post on creating from unconscious thought).

One can easily feel vulnerable when creating from personal experience and meaning, as they are openly sharing of themselves. However, in creating, one does not have to rebuild the painful scars of their past in literal form. They can wrap the expression in any costume, circumstance, color, line, form, light or symbol of their choosing.

Artists are, naturally, very sensitive people. It is an artists job to give form and expression to the experience their sensitivity nets.

Jim Hart 

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