Why do artists suffer so much?We don’t but we like to think we do. When I discovered Buddhism I was overwhelmed and confused with lists, practices, mythology and a million other things but something felt familiar, that place where the suffering ended something seemed right about it.
Buddha talks about the end when all the fabrications fall away and you just live. Even calls it Nirvana as the coolest place to be. Obviously I hadn’t experienced that but something nagged at me, something felt like looking and drawing.
There’s moments when in drawing that all the lines seem right, it starts flowing out. Often it is in the middle of a project that working becomes a delight. I have built up skills and understanding and drawing is just drawing. No worries about anything but that immediate moment. I’m nothing but paper chalk and my hand making marks on the page. Then of course the worries of the world intrude, get kid from school, will it impress my peers? Will anyone buy it? Will anyone like it? Why are all the editors such idiots?
It’s only 12 years after practicing meditation (it’s not a quick fix) that I’m beginning to see that that is the Second Noble Truth. That moment when I stop clinging to a million things and just do whatever is in front of me.
Sadly Buddha didn’t teach drawing. But he taught a skill, and developing that skill will lead to the end of suffering. That skill is of course concentration. To learn it he used paying attention to the breath or might call it meditation.