I paint every day.
Sometimes other artists will come to my studio, and they will often ask me how I keep the paint on my palette from drying out?
I never really appreciated what they were asking.
Then, recently, I didn't paint for a few days, as I did a lot of writing. This is a very rare occurrence in my life.
When I went back to painting, what I found out was that all the colors on my palette had more or less dried up. They had a thick skin on them. Beneath the skin, the paint was sticky. Lethargic.
Normally, painting every day, I simply use the colors up, and keep replacing them with new.
My essays, if you read many of them, I keep referring to all the different kinds of people, all the different belief systems, as being different colors.
Real living is being able to work with all of them of equal intensity, like a master painting, or every landscape you have ever seen.
But most people don't do that.
They just hang out with others who think and do as they do.
They mostly ignore the other colors.
The other colors mostly ignore them.
They dry up. Become thick. Sticky. Lethargic.
It's no fun trying to paint with thick, sticky, lethargic paint.
It's no fun looking at that other guy, that guy you have ignored all your life, and think about having to talk to him, much more care about, and have a relationship with him.
Fucking drag, man. No way.
The problem isn't the other guy.
It's all the dryness. All the stereo-typing that comes with not having honest and sincere give and take.
That other person is actually totally fresh, even you will agree, if you can only penetrate beneath the thick dried skin.
Trust the universe.
Just try it once.
See if what I'm telling you isn't true.
Step 1 Fantasize. The reality you seek will never appear, unless you believe that it can. So if you have a problem with gang kids outside your window that you would love to solve - or if your city is afflicted with racial tension and you wish that it wasn't - or if you happen to live somewhere where a war is going on and you think you'd like to try something else - or even if you'd just like to get to know somebody who is completely different than the person you are, because you'd like to try exploring a different world for a change, just like you like to watch different kinds of movies sometimes - well first you have to fantasize.
Imagine what the solution will look like. Keep turning it over and over in your heart and mind. Enjoy it. Let it take root.
Step 2 Make the rational choice that, even as a fantasy, this fantasy beats hell out of current reality.
Step 3 Live the fantasy. Let it be the lens through which you experience all that happens around you. See people through that lens, as if they are active players in your fantasy - rather than as people who are separate and apart, having nothing to do with your life.
What you will find is that all these people, even the same old people - you will come to see them differently. They will become intensely interesting. They will tell you all you need to know, to think about, in order to make your fantasy a reality.
If they be rare individuals, they will tell you something right up front. But don't hold your breath. That hardly ever happens.
Most of the time, they will speak their deepest truth in all they don't say. Observe and think about that too. Everyone pays homage to truth. There is nothing that anyone can do or say, or not do or say, that is not true. You can learn from everything.
The universe is the best school in the universe.
As long as you hold your goal in place, as long as you center on your fantasy, you will continually get inspirations as to what to do next. You will always absolutely know that this inspiration is correct.
Speed of accomplishment is solely determined by you willingness to act on those inspirations. If you hesitate, they will fade, become foggy, and you will never act. The fantasy will die, and you will accept that, because you will have decided that the pull of the comfortable old slippers was too great. Let the next generation do it. Decide that maybe conflict isn't such a bad thing after all.
But if you do act on all your inspirations, that fantasy just keeps coming, getting bigger and bigger all the time.
It's like trying to push one of those huge ships sitting at the dock. At first, you pretty much have to bust your ass just to get it to budge it an inch - lots of straining. But once that fucker starts moving - it doesn't stop moving. You wont be able to stop. You wont want to stop.
The ride is totally addicting.
After a while, what you will realize is that, as cool as your fantasy goal may be - and that vision keeps expanding and getting cooler all the time - what you realize is that this, right now, is pretty fucking cool in and of itself.
The path is the thing.
There will always be greater goals, and they will always be in the future. But what we experience is the present. The path.
Step 4 Have the deep realization that you absolutely know that all of this is true, because this is exactly what you have been doing all your life. You are, and always have been, exactly what you are thinking about. You have always been acting on, and thus creating, what you think about.
Think about something else, and you will become that. You will draw that reality toward you, like a plant turns toward the sun.
We are what we think about.
What we think is what we do.
We are presently creating all that weird shit out there, because, well, that shit's kind of interesting when you think about it.
But let's try something different.
Let's start thinking about bigger worlds.
More exciting worlds.
Let's create something that is infinitely cooler than this shit we've been doing.
Let's do something that is all-inclusive this time.
Try that for a change.
Work with all the colors, and see if we can't paint a more beautiful, fun and fulfilling picture for everybody.