#48 Art of Soul
The Art of Soul is about living the artist’s life and mastering the art of living as a whole human being.
“The ultimate aim of the artist is to lay hold of the art of living. Be a master of living for the soul creates everything.”
Bruce had a clear vision about what it took to be an artist of life:
“Requirement to be an artist – purity of heart.”
“The aim of art is to state in aesthetic creation the deepest psychic and personal experiences of a human being.”
“An artist’s expression is his soul made apparent. Behind every motion, the music of his soul is made visible.”
Bruce Lee believed that we are each artists of our own lives. We don’t have to create creative artifacts or achieve the status of an artist in society in order to be an artist.
“Art is the way to the essence of human life. The aim of art is not the one-sided promotion of spirit, soul and senses, but the opening of all human capacities – thought, feeling, will – to the life rhythm of the world of nature.”
This is about co-creating your life with the world and revealing your soul.
“Artistic activity penetrates into a deeper world in which the harmony of soul and cosmos has its outcome in reality. It is the artistic process, therefore that is reality.”
Everyone has their own expression of artistic activity, whether it’s in your relationships or actually an artistic creation. We can all call ourselves artists when we have active cultivation of ourselves.
In order to be an artist of life, it requires the amount of expression that a painter would have, but in the different medium of your personality.
We all have those temporary moments of exhaustion and lack of motivation, but if you are a seeker then you move past those moments and continue to seek cultivation of self. If are committed to this cultivation of self then you can truly call yourself an artist because it requires discipline and intention.
You’re not really living if you’re not feeling all the feelings, good or bad, or avoiding hard experiences. The hard experiences give you the most learning, and if you avoid what’s difficult or painful then you’re missing out on life’s journey. Usually the terrible experience is not as bad as the anticipation of that experience.
“Creation in art is the psychic unfolding of the personality. Its effect is a deepening of the personal dimension of the soul.”
This is the personality as a reflection of our soul, not our social persona we put on for show.
“The artless art is the art of the soul at peace.”
If you can witness your essence and your soul in repose, in peace, then there is a pathway for knowing how to go there and be in that space.
This is the opposite of being in a controlling space. Many of us think that we have to control our experience as much as possible, and by extension control the people in our lives, and when we are in that controlling space we are not at peace.
We all have experiences, especially as children, where we were ourselves and we were criticized or punished, and told it was not okay. We carry that trauma around with us, but to develop into a grown-up artist of life is to understand that what happened before is not happening now.
When you start to cultivate what makes your heart sing, what makes you curious, and you start to flow with that, that brings a sense of centeredness and peace which is fully self-generated.
“All vague notions must fall before a pupil can call himself a master.”
These vague notions hold you back and cause you to drift in a place of uncertainty. When you rid yourself of these vague notions and declare firmly how you want to move through the world, then you move forward. This is when you shed your need for outside approval.
If you take an active role in wanting to investigate your own experience, and know your self and operate from the essentialness of your being, then you can be a more grounded and centered.
“Art is never decoration or embellishment; instead, it is the work of enlightenment.”
“The true artist has no public. He works for the sheer joy of it, with and element of playfulness, of casualness. Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.”
There is true freedom in being yourself. Be as weird as you want to be.
“Simplicity is the last step of art and the beginning of nature.”
When we simply and honestly express our soul, we become more natural—closer to nature.
What makes your heart sing? How could you share that? How could you unfold your personality and make who you are more visible? What makes you feel peaceful? If you’re just starting this, it doesn’t have to be the world, it can just be one trusted co-conspirator who won’t judge you who you can be honest with.
If you’d like to share how you’re doing with this action item you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A 2 week action challenge to integrate Bruce Lee’s philosophy into your daily life. One winner will be picked to be a guest on the Bruce Lee Podcast! Click below to go to the #BruceLeePodcastChallenge rules!
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week our #AAHA shout-out goes to Korean American actor and musician John Cho. He is best known in his role in the Harold and Kumar movies, and plays Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot film series. His role as Henry Higgs in the 2014 sitcom Selfie, made him the first Asian-American romantic male lead on American television. Cho is open about experiencing racism in his career in Hollywood and purposely pursues roles that break Asian stereotypes. He has said that one of his biggest frustrations is how Hollywood seeks to follow trends and acts like followers of culture rather than starting and leading social trends or artistic movements. When asked to do an Asian accent for Big Fat Liar, Cho refused. “I don’t want to do this role in a kid’s comedy, with an accent, because I don’t want young people laughing at an accent inadvertently”, he wrote. We think you’re awesome John Cho!
This week’s #BruceLeeMoment comes from New Zealand listener Thomas N.:
“I have been listening to the Bruce Lee Podcast recently and I have been thoroughly enjoying it, so I would like to share with you my Bruce Lee moment.
Last year at the end of my exam period in the second semester, having finished all my other papers, I was left only with the Law of Evidence. It was a full year paper and the entire grade was determined by my performance in the coming exam. It was a particularly dense paper and my organisational skills hadn't been as good as they could have been during the year. I was suffering for it. Trying to make my way through 40 lectures and 1000 pages of course material worth of content was overwhelming to say the least. At times I truly believed I was going to fail the paper.
Long days of study were overshadowed by frantic thoughts of whether I could be approaching the task in a more efficient or intelligent way. 'Should I read that whole case, or are my notes good enough?'. These and a thousand other questions—miniature battles in my psyche—took place over the course of these days.
For some reason I ended up looking up the words "the Art of Dying" and I found a clip in which Bruce recited the 'be water' verse. It was the words which immediately followed that really resonated with me though. In talking to the character, Mike, about his pending fight, Bruce says: "Like everyone else you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose. To accept defeat—to learn to die—is to be liberated from it! So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying."
That was it. I had to accept the possibility of failure, stop trying to find ways to weasel myself into success, and simply do. The rest of my study after that point was much more calm. The battles in my mind ceased to rage and ravage my attention. I did the work and turned up to the exam with no expectation of success, but an absolute commitment to following through. I ended up placing very well in that paper and getting into a limited entry paper this year as a result.
Bruce is a figure that I continue to draw inspiration from. The podcast plays a huge role in this process, so thank you all for producing and sharing it with us.
Hoping this reaches you well, Thomas N.”