“There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance.” Eckhart Tolle wrote in his book A New Earth (Chapter 4, p115).
I first thought: How am I the dance and not the dancer? But I really felt a resonance with it even when my mind was unable to make sense of it. Is it proof that “I” and “my mind” are not the same thing? How can I feel the truth in it and not comprehend it? But I was inspired to draw dancers nonetheless…
Joseph Campbell ‘s “follow your bliss” has changed the course of my life since 2016.
He said the idea behind it came from the Sanskrit Sat-Chit-Ananda. Sat means being, Chit means consciousness and Ananda means bliss. He didn’t know exactly what being and consciousness were but he knew his bliss. By following his bliss, it led him to full consciousness and being. See his interview with Bill Moyers here.
I was obsessed with reading about Sat-Chit-Ananada for a while and came upon the teachings of a South Indian Sage Ramana Maharshi. In his teaching “Who Am I” he said:
“We know that the train carries all loads, so after getting on it why should we carry our small luggage on our head to our discomfort, instead of putting it down in the train and feeling at ease?”
This explained to me what “life is the dancer, and you are the dance” meant in a way that my brain can understand. But my artistic side liked the more poetic way it was described so I continued making art about dancers. Was it why Degas and Matisse paint so many dancers? Did they know the secret too? Now I know that my search for the Truth of life is also inspiration for my art. These two sketches of dancers were inspired by Degas and Matisse (one during his Les Fauves period, one during his later period).
Then I tried carving on plywood (the wood is too hard) and styrofoam printing:
Finally I made a GIF of uncoordinated dancers (that’s how I dance!) for welcoming the New Year!