Art and religion emerged together. The manipulation of objects to create shapes, forms, rhythm, movements and representations based on an expression of harmony – or lack of harmony but with desire to find it through the expression itself – is what we call art. It is the experience, search and expression of inner harmony where religion came from.
To sense this inner harmony we must have our attention to our body, which literally means "listening" or sensing your body. Here is where things become complicated. Our culture and education make us grow up used to the institutional idea that we are our mind, while our body is an object that we possess. Some news reports that a person "was found dead" while other news reports that "the body of" a person was found [dead] instead of the person itself.
We are not our mind; we are our body. The mind is a product of the body. Sensing the body means being aware of the reaction of your body to whatever is in the environment around it. Because the body is constantly reacting to all kinds of stimulus outside and inside our body – temperature, surface textures, light and shadows, sounds, colors, things that are moving and shapes of things that are still – no stop, even when we are sleeping. It is what characterizes a living body. The constant reaction to its environment as biological regulation for the preservation of its life (homeostasis).
This constant somatic reaction, for self regulation of the body, happens thousand times at once, every second and fractions of a second. For this reason it is chaotic. The body can sense a wormith temperature that makes it feels comfortable while sensing a surface texture that makes it feels uncomfortable, together with many other sensing happening at once. It is pure chaos. But eventually, these somatic reactions find a common flux direction of impulses, a chemical, hormonal and feeling working in harmony in a flow.
This is a way to say that we are not one, we are many. The body is composed of many living cells and organs doing their own work and trying to keep in constant harmony with each other. The same happens to our mind. Science has never found a place in the brain where the mind is located or generated. The mind is not a single thing. It is generated from processes happening in many and distinct parts of the brain doing their own work, often in conflict with each other. Eventually, they find a flux in harmony to one direction. This flux is what we perceive as an "I"; a singular mind.
Said that, the body has a life of its own, apart from the mind itself. We can consciously control our body in many ways but our inner function is autonomous from our consciousness, and they interfere in our consciousness. Our political, social, and individual opinions are more related to this process of inner and outer sensation of harmony or chaos with the self than conscious decision. The surfer is not in control of the wave; the surfer is only in constant search to find harmony with the wave and, once found, he feels in control of the wave when in fact he is not, he is only being carried by the wave flow which he found an harmony. What we call individual choice is an assumption that our consciousness is in our mental control. This assumption is convenient to blame people for things that are not their choice when they think it is, and as such, it becomes a justification to control and punish people, which is also based on an illusion of us being in control of not only ourselves but everybody else (the institutional power of society).
What does it all have to do with finding enlightenment?
People try to find enlightenment as if it is their choice. Many gurus or experts will tell people what they must do to become enlightened. In reality, enlightenment has more to do about the harmony you find in your environment in relation to yourself. You can not compensate for your stressful environment with meditation or the search for enlightenment. Meditation may help you to distract you from your stress but it is not a solution against the cause of stress. The environment has to change and such change may or may not be possible by us. It depends on the financial, social, mental, health, among other circumstances. In other worlds, we can not control our reality with our minds. The best our mind can do is the creation of illusions away from reality, turning the intolerable tolerable to our conscious mind, but not so much to our unconscious and body.
But even in a peaceful place, enlightenment comes to you when you become ready, not when you think you have the control over it (because the control is an illusion of the mind). When your attention is on your mind you become unaware of your body and what is around it. You become disatentive from your body senses. Enlightenment is about listening to your body and trust that it has a life of its own, in constant self regulation in harmony with its environment. This harmony makes you feel connected to the flow of everything. Once you connect with the flow around you, you start feeling the environment and yourself as one – the abolish the self-other boundary.
It starts by giving up the attempt of having everything under your control, through your mind, and just listening to your body. But it is not a meditation as an exercise you reserve 30 minutes a day. It is how you live your life (flowing). Giving up control requires trust, then you can flow without fear, without even trying. When you try you end up attempting control and you don't get it. It's about feeling it through your senses.
Art has always been a path to it. Not the kind of art that just follows measures and rules to fit in an industry standard but the kind of art that one feels and expresses it freely, in a flow with it as one. It feels original because it feels sincere to your own inner self – your other self, or others chaotic selves, but now as one in harmony.
On the other hand, people find this harmony when collaborating and acting in harmony with each other as one, like in a chant, in a play, in a dance, with synchronized rhythm in a combined flow. It is what makes us naturally solidary. Our solidary impulses created the environment, in human societies, that made possible the cognitive development of mutual understanding. But Institutions of power take advantage of our search for harmony by offering a strong disciplinary conduct that makes many people in harmony; usually as a relief for an inner feeling of chaos. People who feel chaotic inside fear the same about society. They like rules, order, authority, power and a sense of control as a protection from their own inner fears. Once they lose it for whatever reason, they express their inner chaos, being destructive, aggressive, untrustful. Impulses to create chaos and feel victimized as a help that It will attract a powerful force that will impose their order through their discipline – a ruler, a dictator, a father or God.
We all need a sense of harmony with ourselves, a feeling of belonging, the flow that makes us feel as one with our environment – which biologically means self preservation – but not through authoritarian rules because they are an illusion of order and control hiding their chaotic impulses. We need it through trust, art and solidarity.