Our spirits are revealed through the content that nourishes our soul. There is no such thing as a bad artist only a artist that we don’t need at the moment. The purpose of the artist is to reach into the unconscious and shine light on our collective fears, doubts, and anxieties. The artists reveals the universality in our suffering, and contradicts our belief in the uniqueness and Christ like nature of our suffering. We provide the world with the faith necessary to live through overcoming ourselves.
Books offer a space of vulnerability to commune with spiritual mentors, and this knowledge keeps us alive. For it is knowledge and action that allows us to become followers of a divine path. When we read someone that found a way to be honest it encourages our faith in our internal world. Writing, and reading, taught me that everything happening inside me was important. Anais understood the importance of supporting, loving, and encouraging authors to make the long patient internal journey required for every craftsman. Through books we find solace, strength, and the perseverance to continue the long fight of becoming–Anais Nin On Reading says:
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating.
The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.
On the days we forget our depth, which means forget our beauty, and lay idly on a stream allowing life to pass by are the days that require our faith. However, spontaneously there comes a whirlwind in the water, and a bear mistakes us for a fish swiping his paws at our stream, and a hunter mistakes us for a bear shooting at our water. For the universe knows we desire to live, and laying on this stream prevents us from joining our brothers.
Finding solace in books in not an escape like video games, drugs, or death idealization, but a spiritual preparation for the pain that come from metamorphosis. We must resist the desire to become our old selves, and accept responsibility for the strangeness of the present. Through books we learn to accept our many mistakes, and release our entombment to suffering and poverty by living a life of righteousness. Anais speaks about the transformative nature of books–Anais Nin On Reading says:
I am the most tired woman in the world. Life requires an effort I cannot make. Please give me that heavy book. I need to put something heavy like that on top of my head. I have to place my feet under the pillows always, so as to be able to stay on earth. Otherwise I feel myself going away, going away at a tremendous speed, on account of my lightness. I know that I am dead. As soon as I utter a phrase my sincerity dies, becomes a lie whose coldness chills me.
Don’t say anything, because I see that you understand me, and I am afraid of your understanding. I have such a fear of finding another like myself, and such a desire to find one! I am so utterly lonely, but I also have such a fear that my isolation be broken through, and I no longer be the head and ruler of my universe.
People living deeply have no fear of death. What we call our destiny is truly our character and that character can be altered. The knowledge that we are responsible for our actions and attitudes does not need to be discouraging, because it also means that we are free to change this destiny. One is not in bondage to the past, which has shaped our feelings, to race, inheritance, background. All this can be altered if we have the courage to examine how it formed us. We can alter the chemistry provided we have the courage to dissect the elements.
We are not meant for a life of stress, unhappiness, and the constricting feeling of being trapped by our circumstances. There must exist a world where we live through our deepest selves, and happiness is natural, not eternal, but comes more than sadness and frustration. We are obligated to fight for our growth, and evolve in order to experience a life other than this one. Anais reminds us of the necessity of treating our lives like an art project saying:
We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them. Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death. Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it. I don’t really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more.
Anaïs Nin speaks with warmth and urgency on those themes which have always been closest to her: relationships, creativity, the struggle for wholeness, the unveiling of woman, the artist as magician, women reconstructing the world, moving from the dream outward, and experiencing our lives to the fullest possible extent. Continue this reading with Anais Nin On Reading.
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