mask your fears

monday sermon april 1 2013

                                           mask your fears

personae and masques allow an individual to role play in a safe setting with understood rules.  the act of creative play to solve questions of identity and self worth have been used and proven through the branches of drama and art therapy.  treat yourself to the cathartic experience of being someone else for a day, an afternoon or evening.

persona has transmuted its meaning from a physical mask to an imaginary, spiritual mask.  assuming personae was an ancient tradition in theatre disused during the medieval period. theatre came from ideas of deep catharsis worked through the actors to the viewing audience.  traditionally the theatre was a spiritual and philosophical outlet.  now instead of wearing masks the actors assumed their characters’ personality.  later on with the development of psychotherapy Jung posed that in fact it was “a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual.  a controllable alter ego.  an alter ego is a second self, which is believed to be distinct from a person’s original personality.  a person who has an alter ego is said to lead a double life.  which seems to me an accurate description of the lives of artists.  the use of masks has waned in organised religion in developed nations, but masks are used sometimes in drama therapy or psychotherapy.  the physical existence of the mask is irrelevant, a costume, that changes they way you feel about yourself and allows the meditation of a new space possible, is all you need.

a masque could be considered a private pageant.  pageantry was important for ritualised procession and entertainment, for germinating ideas in a crowd of strangers.  a masque could be used in the same context with a smaller group of more like minded individuals.  wiki says, a masque involved music and dancing, singing and acting, within an elaborate stage design, in which the architectural framing and costumes might be designed by a renowned architect, to present a deferential allegory flattering to the patron.

all of these ideas are tools to exercise your creativity.  in the space of creative play, or rigid and protective ways of behaving are relaxed and ideas may flow more freely.  glorious creative connections can be made when we lose our self conscious hindrances and feel safe enough to take risks.  so play.  plan tea parties and make your friends dress up, throw a costume dinner for no reason other than fun.  if you are no longer afraid to take risks with those that love and care about you, taking risks outside that safe zone will seem easier over time as well.  not everything will be brilliant or a smashing success, but persevere.  it is all a process that has to be assimilated into the brain and body before you can really “own” it.  everything takes time and a little thrill of fear as we try something new yet again.

express yourself through a character.  this character may be a poet, or an artist.  this character may be you larger than life.  all of the people that live inside you should have a chance to get out and breathe once in a while.  by creative role play and character creation you allow those individuals inside you own head a chance to channel memes.  obviously we are all better off having many people who all think differently, but in the times when you must rely on no one but your own wits and strength, knowing all of yourself and the facets of your egos will give you better resources to draw on.  while you are exploring the reaches of your own characters, you may uncover parts of you that are unfamiliar and potentially useful.

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