I was pondering the stories of some of the best artists and other "masters" this morning (like Ray Charles, Johnny Cash) and what they have in common is that some tragedy befell them when they were young where they lost a sibling and each felt responsible for that. This led me to wonder why it is so much more common to have a person who has truly mastered something, or become the living expression of it so completely, when that person has experienced an event like the one above. My theory is as follows:
Most people are completely obsessed with one thing and live their entire lives within the pull of this massive force of gravity that is their obsession. That obsession is SELF - me, myself and I. Becoming very good at something - mastering a skill - is hard work and often requires that you rise above yourself and become something else - whether it is the music, the art, the job - whatever. What seems to happen with people who have experienced a really traumatic event that involves loss is that they shift their focus from themselves to someone, or something else. That shift of obsession seems to cause a change in their motivation, the force that drives them forward in life.
It is no longer the "I" that drives them, but some "other" force that allows for the opportunity for them to develop themselves and dedicate themselves completely to something outside of themselves. Let's face it - most of us never develop that kind of dedication, where we completely lose ourselves in something. Losing yourself implies that you are willing to let go of YOU and become something else - most of us are clinging on far too tightly to "Who I am" and the likes that we would never be willing to let go like that. In a sense it is the act of giving up control absolutely - that is a scary idea for most.