Spiritual artists learn from Inspiration to flow with the luxuriance of Freedom. This acquired state of Wholeness becomes an essential aspect of their very being and existence so any experience that contrasts with this natural occurrence feels hindering as it represses the soul’s inherent way of being~ In that sense, Art’s purpose is sacred as it is an alley to the Beauty of the Divine which is our origin~
Once the soul has tasted the nectar of the sublime Stream that animates the Universe as well as the awareness of the Artist, nothing compares to the intensity of such a Love~ It’s the closest thing to the Afterlife’s Bliss for a fragrant soul. Very few are those who have awakened to the Wisdom that compels one to embrace this Reality in a culture of distractions that numbs our senses with its powerful ego-based illusions. Immersed in the intense subtleties of Beyond, the Sage-Artist cultivates his grace and shares it for the sake of the collective soul’s exaltation.
When you begin to hear
the Music of the Spheres,
you can’t help
but to observe
Silence and to lead
a reverent Life~
Awaken my dear,
find the way
come to the Essence,
come to Love
in its sublimest form~
Learn to read
the divine notes
that ornate your soul~
I’m often emailed questions about creativity and inspiration so in response I’d like to share a few thoughts here.
When it comes to the creative process, I have never been into formula because I believe in the manifestation of higher Knowledge and in order for the brain to receive it, it needs to be free from conformity to old patterns and rules so I say break all patterns, break these molds that no longer serve our evolution, break these mundane learned rules that restrain the soul’s voice and watch your creativity expand and become what it was truly intended to be…
With the Will of the Divine, the human soul has the capacity to channel certain degrees of Knowledge that will materialize through different mediums depending on the individual soul’s specific purpose as well as the collective need for these uplifting expressions. The selfless artist has no control over that level of revelation, s/he is just a vehicle through which flows these specific expressions…
In the exaltation of collective consciousness so much takes place in the act of artistic creations such as writing (holding a pen) or painting (holding a paintbrush) or music (holding a musical instrument) or even the molding of clay! Our hands act as antennae to subtler realities and our fingertips are directly connected to the heart so the life force that flows through them is deliberate and purposeful~ Yet the outcome of artistic creation is but a reflection of the heart’s spiritual condition.
With the ongoing cosmic unfolding we are immersed in, the artist must learn to surpass any worldly conditioning and to become empty so that s/he can truly birth the very beauty and love our souls need to see manifested for our evolution. In this world, the highest examples for emptiness were the prophets (peace be on them); by being purely empty, they were thus able to become receptacles for the most sublime light that uplifts humanity to this day~
My love, stop sometimes
to catch the fireflies
of life’s afterglow.
Come sit by my side
and listen to your echo,
this infinite whisperer
from the hereafter
the prophets in their glide
Peace~ Twice a year I render a few of my original paintings available for sale on the visualsufipoetry.com e-store. I also recently started to make canvas prints with ornaments reworked by hand so each reproduced piece is unique. Feel free to share with anyone who would be interested. Thank you for supporting spiritual art~
“The Very Self of the Self” is a 40″x30″ oil & acrylic painting that evokes the sacred unfolding that can take place when wo/man is free of all conditioning that binds her/his mind to fragmentation and that prevents her/him from experiencing the Unity/Tawhid of all life that sages have spoken about throughout the ages.
I worked on this painting for a year and a half, through its creative process I learned a lot about ego dissolution, transcendence and going deep inward, beyond the divisive perspective we tend to cultivate in the material dimension. When we go beyond these divisions, there truly is only the Divine Unity of all existence, the sustaining consciousness of all, seen and unseen. In time, inshAllah the global realization of this Reality will allow us to live more harmoniously on this earth.
To see “The very self of the Self” in its entirety and to read the poem that accompanies it click here.
What I love the most about Art is the spirit of complete Surrender it awakens in one~ No matter how appealing to the senses the external world seems, it pales in comparison to the high degree of Beauty creativity exposes one to…. this process tames the ego’s tendency to be lured by superficiality~
Creativity orchestrates moments during which the false ego gently bends until it breaks, it makes way for the majestic soul which pushes one to be deeply quiet and to listen and to let the spark-Soul be… there is such Beauty that surges from this mysterious state, the artist’s final work we see is only a fragment of this untold Beauty which is expansive, unfathomable and divine.
Let us embrace whatever dissolves the ego, the separator from the All~ness of life. Once the distracting ego is bent before the manifestation of Beauty, we do observe the new gained suppleness of the mind, the gentle flow of pure kindness it gives off in compassion to all life. Externally this is expressed too in varied ways, through the grace of anyone who has been subjected to such a rare experience which softens one to a degree that is beyond imagination.
On this note, I just completed a new 40″x30″ painting which marks the end of a phase for me, I intend to release this new art piece soon inshAllah… All praise is due to The Bestower of Beauty!
I completed “Salsabil” during Ramadan, it is a 40″x30″ oil and acrylic painting. After having composed some music that celebrates this theme, I wanted to conceive a painting that expressed what’s most sublime and timeless in us and which manifests as an immeasurable grace in those who have worked to purify their heart, to shed their ego and to live from the abundance that sacred state provides.
Because “Salsabil” relates to a celestial reality that extends to the material realm through whole/holy human beings, it was a pure delight to explore it through this painting.
Salsabil is the seventh piece of the series “Luminous Dark Matter”. To see the entire painting and to read the poem that inspired it please click here.
is a quality that flows
straight from the soul,
it is manifest in those
who inwardly beautified
themselves so that
their very presence
is an exquisite fragrance
to everyone around them!
I near you,
on the holy ground
your feet bless,
infinite carpets of gems
appear! Your very being
is a promise
from the Unseen
to the seen realms.
I’m like a child
in your presence,
you are the servant
of Allahu’s Effulgence~
In a pack of strawberries I found this one calligraphic strawberry that was shaped in what looks like Allah (swt) spelled in Arabic. Soon as I saw it, it struck me and my mind just lit up! Placed in front of one of my paintings, I took a few photographs of it. I wondered what other people would see in the shape of this strawberry so I decided to share the picture~
“We will show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth.” ~Qur’an 41:53
Peace~ I just released a new 40″x30″ oil painting “The First Realm” which is the most important one I ever did because I had to reflect on the theme for a while before I could even start working on it, so I’m happy to have completed it al hamdulillah. “The First Realm” celebrates the soul in her pre-cosmic state, her fragrant attributes as well as the vibrancy of her love for the Beloved. You may see the entire painting here.
~ The First Realm ~
“…Lo! There are the celestial symbolic
that the Moor mystics inscribed
upon the scintillating waves
of the two Easts…” (read more)
In materialistic cultures, creatives are conditioned to seek external validation whereas creativity is an inner endeavor, impulsed by the cosmic movements called Love~ Creativity is a grand manifestation of divine Love and Freedom, to approach it with the quest for fame in mind defeats its sacred purpose.
With creativity, one learns the cultivation of sublime intimacy as a constant state of being, there is nothing more beautiful than this as consciously, one works at being present with Love itself in a consistent way~ Once one understands this, there no longer is room for ego desires or attachments such as fortune or fame since the soul is fully fulfilled in its expansion and all that it brings. As a matter of fact, the pursuit for external validation with its restlessness tends to thwart the creative process and to taint the artist, it can be highly destructive… There is so much that comes with creativity that one must learn to be selective and understand that worldly or institutional considerations are best taken with detachment.
Eagerness for the recognition artists are conditioned to seek causes them great distress since it conflicts with the very essence of creativity which is hidden, secret, subtle, sacred, silent and of The Divine~ Creativity is indeed a perfect and powerful phenomenon that offers itself to shatter the narrowness and weight of a coarse dimension, it is in itself a triumphant experience where Light reigns, it is the ultimate form of validation from The Divine to the human soul; after IT nothing the world claims it can “offer” one even matters.
Peace all ways~ I just published one of my newest 40″x30″ paintings “Prelude to Majesty”. I was exposed to fascinating scenes while working on it. The creative process of this painting inwardly took me back to my land Mali with its Sufi saints from past centuries whose erudition has given rise to wonders to this day. “Prelude to Majesty” can be viewed here. The verses below are extracted from its poem of the same title:
“Do you see the veil lifting? Love speaks with no mouth, we are interwoven with the signs laid around us like sublime kisses…”
We’re living in a time of great opening so we might as well make the most of it by attuning to our soul’s potential and dissolve all the oppressive fears that interfere with it. Being wide open to love requires harmony with one’s inner feminine principle first, yet fear is the energy that stifles this alignment. All beauty we experience comes from the attributes of this principle which is primordial: Mercy precedes all other attributes so this primal manifestation opens the way to life itself.
From observing our world what it misses the most is love: poverty, wars, greed, destruction of Nature, violence occur because of this lack of love cultivation so in order for it to manifest we must be open, clear, even empty and not so frightened. As long as the chaotic fears from the ego are present they interfere with the love the soul bears, this interference imbalances and ruins nations, relationships and all interactions which were intended to be of divine nature. When we finally meet this sacred purpose where exchanges occur for our collective enrichment and evolution, everything that is disharmonious around us will drastically transform as well but first this transformation has to occur within the individual and this is what love does, it gathers until Unity is realized.
I can’t fathom approaching love with anything other than this sacred purpose which is all-pervasive in the Universe yet we seem so far away from awareness of this Reality! Since the soul is the breath of the Divine, it takes great awareness and care to be able to deal with one’s soul and even more so another soul. That is how deep love is, yet collectively we are far from achieving such regard for our inner being when I see the cruelty of politicians and bureaucrates, their recklessness, their greed, their drive to oppress, to cause harm and chaos while claiming to be “leaders” of this world, and this scheme continues to occur when mankind has clearly voiced its concern for global evolution of these corrupt political systems, this concern now is the priority for the planetary majority.
Amid pauses of long silence and work, the one thing I enjoy the most is expressing my heart wholeheartedly, I have no restraint when it comes to it no matter how uncelebrated it may be in general, the dimension of the heart will become more and more pronounced in time so balance may be reached beyond the current ego-driven frequency. With every breath taken we draw closer to the last breath so Life is beautiful, short and precious~ The realities from the heart is what vibrates for ever, it’s all we leave behind when the veil of physicality lifts so every second of the heart’s Life must be savored and shared for the sake of the Divine, for the Heart within our hearts.
Peace in~ I just finished a new painting that came alive in my dream~ I will be releasing it in a few days. Recently I’ve received correspondences from people who ask for advice because they feel the urge to take upon painting. I honor these exchanges because what they feel represent crucial moments in their lives; as those who have been following this journey with me know my artistic endeavors are the outcome of such an impulse. Thus I’m always glad when the creative paradigm expands in more and more lives… I derive great pleasure from seeing creatives attune to their inner voice and share the virtues of colors, intuition, music, aesthetics, poetry, fine emotions and all the magnificent realities born of Inspiration~
Creativity is the manifestation of Surrender, it takes detachment to fully live it out and as such it is a sacred experience which transcends the mundane considerations associated with it. In many ways, spiritual creativity makes the subject of it shun attention and applauses, it makes them inclined to moments of reclusion because the process of inspiration requires them to. They have no expectation, they just surrender to what comes and let it exist as is; it’s all about the impulse that throbs and flows through, it’s a blissful dance. Such an elusive occurrence demands reverence, humility, emptiness before what’s divine; it requires deep harmony with one’s soul’s position which is a feminine one, there is nothing more graceful and noble than that!
Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un.
on a promenade outside
of the confine it used to be in,
now seeing everywhere,
infinitely open to Love,
untying the knot that slipped
in this string theory
turned to fact
as it travels at last,
weightless, toward Hu~
may its journey be smooth,
may it find all the mercy
no one could feel for it,
every breath was aching,
but no more, no more.
For the sake of the ReUnion
and that finally heals,
let it be all-embracing,
let it be whole, free,
so beautiful to the 7th sense
I shed tears in its resonance,
in its sublime company,
in its Life that is just beginning;
for the very first time, pulse undefined~
Bismillah, there is deep passion in one who savours repose of mind, slowing down, a necessity for artistic activity to evolve however it breathes, wherever it begins, it is only from Stillness that beauty reveals itself; the tremendously graceful ones have beheld it so they stopped speaking much, elaborations and noise left their lives, their surroundings, their very bodies. These beings left themselves to just be not-being~ Here, the very whisper in my ear…
I look at my canvases, scattered across the room, learning new lessons from formlessness and fluidity and how they are the sublimation of materiality, so they’re really one. Learn to walk the iridescence that bridges them, have no fear~ I realize these paintings didn’t have to be materialized, it is just the outcome of exuberance, some personal longing to be surrounded with beauty now fulfilled…
Yesterday I reflected on all that’s left for me to do and the fact that I only paint when I’m inspired~ Amid it all if I stopped painting, I’d be okay with it because it came so generously so if the impulse to crystallize it ceased, I’d bow, the grandest bow ever~ it’s part of the glory of Life…What would be next is the past, look to your origin: the primordial light, you will be that again, inshAllah, the deepest bliss you ever experienced! Before it, everything pales when compared. I think I should stop here now but…
In the meantime, these shapes dance loud and clear and glide on my fingertips in some outward movement toward you so I execute what I’m commanded to do until we fully become love and kindness anew~
“You like poetry: you read poems and perhaps you even write them. This is fine; continue to do so, but know that true poetry is not found in literature. True poetry is a quality of the inner life, and you will not understand what true poetry is until the day you harmonise your inner life with the images, the rhythms, and the melodies of the world of the soul and spirit.Those who truly love poetry understand that it must begin within themselves: that they must endeavor to think, feel, and act poetically while maintaining clear and luminous states of consciousness. It is in such states of consciousness that true poetry is created: the poet is inspired, he feels as if a current is flowing through him, because inwardly he is connected to the world of harmony. He must do everything possible to keep himself in these higher realms of consciousness.”
A flash: my palette and paint tubes near my feet, a couple of brushstrokes’ motions envisioned, the smoothness of brush upon canvas and my heart tears open: in this state I can paint for what seems like hours, exploring nuances of the same or different colors, it is rapture~
I realized the alchemy of colors as a child, the healing property of each, their language, their secret keys and what they unlock when found. Colors are musical, they burst out of our interaction with the Sun, they constantly dance with the Star and once we understand them, we can work with them to celebrate the symphony of Life which is audible to those of fine feeling. I have seen colors being used to trigger angst in the viewer, many artists do this: they use art to sort of unload their negative emotions in it and when the viewer lays her/his eyes on the piece, the angst, the torment and depression of the artist is transmitted to her/him. I went to a museum long ago in NY and walked out discouraged to visit again, the majority of paintings by the great masters I saw conveyed this type of energy, the paleness and chaotic movements of colors suggest inner chaos, depression, angst, the very state they might have been in when conceiving the work. The audience who then receives the work also receives these energies, they absorb them.
I spoke about this before, and it is one of the reasons why I only look at artistic works that have a certain spiritual quality which shows regard for aesthetics and the inner harmony of the viewer. The effect of colors is extremely powerful, so their purpose is sacred to me. Depending on the way we use them they can enliven, uplift and stir the viewer to attune to one’s soul Paradise, they can deeply transform in that way or they can trigger the opposite in us~ so how great is the artists’ responsibility when s/he creates!
Perched on the ego’s perception, experiences unfold with such turbulence, life loses its vibrancy in the eye of the wounded heart. Love remains a mystery to many of us, as it evolves through the different phases of our consciousness, with each transformation that we go through…
The higher our vibratory frequency, the deeper our capacity to experience love, which itself is in its purest form through the state of being, through presence; love is not spoken yet it deeply is expressive, it doesn’t flirt with noise nor chaos, it doesn’t cultivate nor nurture vice, it always reflects virtue… A true love is like the Sun: it just is, it offers itself constantly with the quiet intent to help evolve.
On this Earth, the rare beings who express love in this manner are most admired yet at the same time most feared by their peers, this unbalanced sentiment often aimed at those lovers creates an aura of “aloofness” and intensity around them while spiritual intimacy is their activity, they seem to stand alone even amid crowds… they revel in the majesty of Silence, they are elusive yet present, they just accomplish their task without any distraction nor expectation for gratitude, indeed such a love is like the Sun… the reward for such manifested love is with The Divine only…
In homage of the suns in human form who touched my life…
Wasalamalaikum. I just finished this painting I had started working on during Ramadan. “Al Fattah” (The Opener) is one of the 99 sacred Names of The Beloved. I immensely enjoyed developing this art piece that seemed vertiginously well defined and nocturnal from the start.
I must say that the “opening” theme is dear to my heart because it’s the first condition for love, spiritual intimacy and the gracefulness of existence itself. The most amazing testimony to such “Opening” is the prophets (as) as they were able to convey the divine Message to us only because The Opener, Allah (swt) bestowed this grace upon them. The poem that goes with “Al Fattah: The Opener” can be read here… more about the painting here.
“God is Beautiful and He loves beauty.”
~ Prophet Muhammad (saw)
::: As souls, it’s only natural to express beauty as it is our origin. The most difficult challenge while we experience the world is to remain attuned to that dimension in us as worldly establishment discourages the cultivation of spiritual qualities. And this because the best way to disempower humanity is to fragment, robotize and systematize their spiritual constitution so that they could be subservient to anything but The Creator.
In order to be free and to honor our full potential, we should follow our Heart, we should inwardly invite what’s beautiful until it becomes not just an internal life but a tangible reality that is uplifting to the collectivity: this implies the awakening of the divine potential in us and therefore the neutralization of all the falsehood and corruption perpetuated by usurping, ill-intended forces.
We are beauty and we are love. These attributes nurture, spiritualize and pull us to the glories of Surrender! So let us all do that which is beautiful in humility and generosity. Amin. :::
Language is pure when spoken to reflect spiritual emotions. We would greatly evolve if we were more inclined toward silence and the Language that is behind it. When the Heart speaks we become quiet-natured, because the mind revels in the wild softness that murmurs from the depths of the Nowhere-Everywhere that permeates our being; it’s an exalted expression of Love that makes itself known to us, no one I know consciously runs away from such luxury!
There are moments when our heart demands that we do not speak yet we don’t listen, if we did we would always be guided throughout existence. The most sublime expressions by the sages and artists were realized because they drew from that innermost state of silence which is perfection. This experience itself is perfect yet its transcription is rarely done without interference unless the channel is completely egoless and in synchronicity with Divine Love. In reality, there is no separation between the being and this Love but the thin veil constituted by the ego, this veil dissolves in the blissful currents of Stillness.
Poetry is motions from the unfolding soul. The more surrendered the soul, the deeper her expression makes one dance within. In mystical poetry, words are the soul of the poet, assuming a different prostration to Allah (swt) with each letter. For this reason, the energy of poetry is what truly matters as it dictates the stations the reader goes through while experiencing poetry.
I do not believe in an academic approach to Art which is sacred in my eyes. I am convinced that we all are students to some Cosmic “School” whose standards are perfectly suited to invite the soul to manifest her genius: our earthly education system does the exact opposite, it stifles genius. Abiding thus by the soul’s authentic inclination for transcendence allows one to not only leave the excessive materialism of conventional education behind (if necessary) but it also allows one to leave one’s self too… and how gifted and graceful becomes the one who has gotten rid of the ego! His third ear opens to all the subtleties that whisper through the Universe and as well as through the human body.
The outcome of this phenomenon is Creativity and eventually inshAllah Creations that in turn stir the soul of humankind to Love and Grace. How to know when we come across such Creations? Well there are simple external signs we all have in common when we encounter artistic Generosity: we become subjects to gestures of fulfillment and quiet joy. Upon experiencing certain Arts (whether it is Poetry, Fine Arts, Music …etc…) that deeply move me I feel Home anew and the feeling is it!
I first read about the Sufi sage in a bookstore in 1997. I sat for hours on the carpet of Borders store in the world trade center and I read chapters of his beautiful book “The Mysticism of Sound and Music” which I ended up purchasing.
Innately, Music for me has been one of those experiences that made me wonder about the beauty of the Unseen. As a child, with my intrigue for Music, I studied classical piano so over time uncovering how harmonious Sound was a combination of mathematics and aesthetic made me view Music as an intangible octave of the Creation. In turn I perceived the material Creation as the tangible phase of Music, they were one. In hindsight, all these perfect mysteries evoked by the spirituality of Music truly connected me to Islam. Once I realized Surrender, I renounced my desire to pursue the Art of Music. It felt as though the desire itself had vanished although I still loved Music, I no longer was consumed with the thought of pursuing it, it seemed that instead I longed to pursue only its Source. Then one day, suddenly I started writing as an impulse… in doing it, I eventually found Poetry, Painting and Music again!
Hazrat Inayat Khan’s words in the book verified in me the grace of “Renunciation”, it was a great feeling to read someone else (a sage-musician at that) stating that it was really okay, even natural to let go of an activity we cherish, it actually can be a veil to the greatest Wonder.