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Written by Felicia M. Tomasko, RN   

Painting: 'Anticipation' by Rassouli
Painting: 'Anticipation' by Rassouli

The Spiritual Practice Of Creativity With Rassouli

Sacred and intuitive artist Rassouli often quotes Hafiz, Rumi or other mystic poets when he speaks, teaches and writes. At a painting retreat, he recently told a story that to welcome in the New Year, he approached Rumi’s verse as he would an oracle, randomly choosing words from the beloved poet to uncover the secrets of the new decade. What did he uncover? These words: “The New Year has arrived! Let’s move to the garden of the cypress.” For those uninitiated into the meaning of that particular tree, Rassouli described the growth pattern of the cypress: cypress trees have no branches; they just go up.

We can go up; we must go up. This is the work of the practice that Rassouli describes as Rachana Yoga, the Yoga of Creativity. Rassouli says, “We are balanced in a pivotal moment in time with the possibility to become re-ensouled. We are in a new era, during which we can unite with the heart.”

“Your heart can say things that no one has said before.”

Thinking about uniting with the heart may seem easy and these words fluidly flow off of Rassouli’s tongue. Yet actually doing it is another thing entirely; it may even seem intimidating in a world that doesn’t always support creativity. But when we build networks of creative people and come together in ecstatic union then the heart is supported. It is for this reason that Rassouli facilitates group of painters, novices with canvas on easel alongside those experienced with a brush.

The collective energy and effort uplifts everyone. When we bring our energies together and unite them, power develops.

We are in the garden of the cypress. And in this garden, the paintbrush is an effective instrument for taking us beyond the reality that we see. This is the journey of visual art – particularly Fusionart, which is the practice of going beyond abstraction to innovation.

Rassouli is a troublemaker with a twinkle in his eye who just as easily wields a brush as he waxes philosophical on how none of us are artists, or even creative. He says this while he is in the midst of teaching a class on painting, in the style of Fusionart, the tradition of painting he has founded and facilitates. His statement that none of us are creative may be initially shocking, but his subsequent explanation unwraps preconceptions as he dismantles the idea that we’re intellectually directing our creative process. We don’t own our creativity. As creative people, we are participants in the divine play yet we are not the ones who are writing the script.

 

Painting: 'Dancing in the Light' By Rassouli's student, Mehrdad Dabbagh: mehrdaddabbagh.com
Painting: 'Dancing in the Light' By Rassouli's student, Mehrdad Dabbagh: mehrdaddabbagh.com

When he teaches, Rassouli says that learning does not come from the process of being taught or from some magic tradition. It comes from practice. We are the carriers of the creative power that is constantly flowing in the universe. When we are in relationship with this power, we are akin to the letter carriers, the people delivering the mail in envelopes from one locale to another. As painters, no matter our level of expertise, we are using the medium of a paint brush and the process of applying color to canvas, to transport a message that does not belong to us and is delivered from somewhere other than our rational mind.

Rassouli continues the analogy saying, “Most of us carry empty envelopes,” or, “We keep ourselves too busy to know what we could be carrying.” Those are strong statements. If we’re lucky, we can be a carrier of creative power who does not cling to judgment, who does not allow the rational mind to interfere with the journey.

This is the practice of Rachana Yoga, to go beyond technique, to use practice to cultivate creativity – and most importantly, to encourage the awakening of hearts. When we begin to create, we begin to expand.

As a guide, Rassouli encourages the group energy, the union of hearts and the expansion. In a class, retreat, intensive or workshop, students walk around the room and take time at the end of the day to present their work. The word critique doesn’t describe the feeling. It’s about people inspiring each other, listening to each others’ processes, expressing.

While everyone creates provocative work while painting together, the colors on the canvas are not the end product, the aim of Rachana Yoga is to allow people to fully become, fully inhabit and to fully be carriers of their creative power every day, all the time, so that we all walk through the day dancing with a rhythm that makes our hearts go and a rhythm that makes the rivers flow.

Join Rassouli and LA YOGA for a series of retreats in 2010 focused on transmitting the soulful and heartfelt practices of Rachana Yoga, beginning in March. Write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more info or visit:
fusionartinternational.com or: rassouli.com.

 
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