How to Be Original: Connect with the Spirit

by | Feb 26, 2019 | Essays

What is Originality?

The defining characteristic of a great artist is originality.  Think of any great artist in any genre: music, painting, poetry, or literature.  Then ask yourself if anyone like them ever came before them.  The answer is no, and that is what makes them great.  They weren’t making an impression of anyone else.  Their battle wasn’t to be like another person but to be themselves.

The question then is how do you become original?  You don’t become original.  You were born original.  No one, ever in the history of the world, has experienced the Universe precisely the way you have.  That means you have a unique perspective.  Your ego clouds your unique perspective and robs you of your originality.  Selfish thoughts and emotions rob us of our originality.

All egos are the same.  We all have the same base impulses.  There is nothing original about them.  When the ego is talking, it has nothing original to say.  That’s why I can’t stand hearing rappers talk about money and girls.  It’s all ego, and it’s all bullshit.  They have nothing original to say.  They’re all doing impressions of each other, and it’s completely uninteresting.  There’s not a novel thought among them.

“Originality” is really just another word for “authenticity.”  To become truly authentic requires deep spiritual work.  All great art comes from deep within the spirit.  To connect with the Spirit, you have to look beyond the ego – beyond selfish thoughts and desires.  All great artists, including those with big egos, did their best work when they could see past their egos and connect with the Spirit.  The Spirit gives you an objective view of yourself and the world.  Your objective view, unclouded by selfishness, is unique and interesting.  This is originality.  This is authenticity.

The Spirit vs. The Ego

You connect with the Spirit when you are in the space between your thoughts.  There are many ways to do this.  Athletes connect with it when they get in the zone.  Musicians get in the zone too.  So do meditators.  So do artists. The zone is a flow state; you can get to it anytime, anywhere, by going to the space between your thoughts.  You can train this mechanism through meditation.  Many high-level athletes, artists, CEOs, and other high performers meditate regularly.  Meditation removes you from cycles of repetitive thoughts and makes you present.  When you are present, you are focused on what you are doing.  When you are focused on what you are doing, you perform better.

Whenever you are so focused on what you are doing that you lose track of your thoughts, you are connected with the Spirit.  Meditation allows you to connect with the Spirit and focus on what you are doing by training you to think about nothing.  You don’t think; you do.  When you do things right, it feels like you aren’t even doing them at all.  They’re just doing themselves.  That’s because your ego is out of the way, and the Spirit is in control.  Great art is made when the Spirit is in control.

So how do you know whether the ego or the Spirit is leading you?

The Ego:

  • Is selfish and seeks to serve itself
  • Seeks outward recognition and admiration
  • Always feels like it is lacking
  • Lusts for short-term prizes and pleasures
  • Causes pain
  • Sees itself as a victim
  • Feels stuck
  • Is jealous
  • Puts other people down
  • Is arrogant
  • Is hostile

The Spirit:

  • Is altruistic and seeks to serve others
  • Looks inward and seeks to be authentic
  • Feels abundance and gratitude
  • Seeks love
  • Causes healing
  • Views life as a gift
  • Cares for others
  • Is inspired by the success of others
  • Inspires others
  • Is humble
  • Is friendly

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