Isabel Parlett, the magical Soundbite Shaman with whom I’m studying, asked me this in response to what I wrote about my experience lecturing on art: “Say a bit more about what you see happens to people in the presence of beauty – and when they see beyond their usual awareness. Why is that important?”
This is such an interesting question to me.
I sometimes despair of what people fail to see, where they don’t bother looking, what they’re not curious about, that is right in front of their noses and all around. Wake up! I want to shout. (Why do I care?)
I see how we’re all captured and hypnotized by the superficial, that our culture promotes, and how this dulls the senses and the potentials of the soul for perceiving on deeper and subtler levels. I’ve also seen these potentials develop in people – including in myself. I am speaking now of the sensitivity to the subtle presence within each human being, the infinite facets and nuances of the soul itself, and the dimensions of reality these reveal. . . .
Being awake to beauty brings us directly in contact with the aliveness of the soul – its own beauty, its impressionability and delicate perceptive sensitivity, and its recognition of what is essential and true. I think this subtle awareness is the organ of perception for beauty. And perceiving beauty can develop these qualities in us.
I do not have the opportunity to awaken people to all the nuances of the soul – that is a long journey. Nor do I have the capacity or skill to do that (yet?). But I can definitely awaken people to beauty, and in that way I can remove one heavy veil that covers the world for them – and covers their soul for them.
I could say that my lifelong study and work is to awaken people by removing heavy veils, revealing and illuminating the beauty of the inner and outer worlds. Then their senses come awake and become more refined; then they can become aware of their own deeper and subtler nature. They are reminded of what is most precious, what is of most value – something essential and true that they may have forgotten. It lifts their energy, quickens their vibration. They feel joy and delight. The world seems brighter and more pleasurable.
Perhaps in being reminded of beauty, being in direct contact with the beauty or realness of art or the world, people may then become more hungry for it, may seek it and long for more of it. They remember that there’s something they can’t explain that is vitally important, and it calls to them, through all the outer noise. They start to remember what’s real, and who they are.
Picasso once said, “Art washes off the dust of everyday.” When the dust is washed off the soul, what is revealed is shimmering beauty and the capacity to recognize beauty everywhere.
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After writing the above, I sent it to members of the Creativity Support Group I run and am including (with permission) two exquisite responses I got back. I was in a transport reading them both, and wanted to share them with you too.
From Elizabeth Russell, photographer and writer, Miami, Florida:
Tomar, that is so beautiful!! And it is so much in sync with what I am experiencing today.
I woke up this morning with a lightness and joy, wanting to spring into action. I was in a medium that felt like helium…my body was weightless. I was full of enthusiasm for the new day and its possibilities. I didn’t know which way to turn because everything seemed full of promise and delicious.
I have been listening to Point 9 recordings and re-reading Facets of Unity [by A.H. Almaas]…the 9 chapter, since I am one. [Referring to the Enneagram teachings.]
What you are reminding me of, in a different way, is the lost sense of preciousness, my own “going to sleep” pattern, forgetting That.
And you have shown me where to focus because I recognize the truth in it, especially the truth for me in particular.
This morning in my half sleep I heard the wetness of the bird sounds after the night rain, rich, full, round and golden, articulated and pregnant with nuanced implication, like a call from another world of an unadulterated Eden. Each bird’s call was unique, but they seemed to be part of an orchestrated symphony. The breeze lightly blew the wet leaves that rustled ever so gently, in waves. It was saturated, the whole soundscape. Slightly cool wetness blew in through the window.
I woke up and wanted to LIVE in this world.
And when I read your piece, I recognized it to be the real world that Almaas describes, the world without the filtering action of the ego, what Picasso called the every day world. And I saw how making Art can be a doorway or at least the thread that leads out of the maze.
From Kei Andersen, Artist, Brooklyn, NY:
“Art washes off the dust of everyday.” I love that, Tomar.
So interesting that you are writing about this. I was riding home on the subway last night, listening to my iPod, when I looked up – the train had surfaced from the underground to begin its cross over the Williamsburg Bridge- and I was struck by how exquisite everything was, the nocturnal cobalt of the skies deepening into a velvety black, with soft orbs of colored light outside reflected in the subway windows – so much like a Whistler nocturne- it was riveting- I could not look away.
This kind of beauty is around us all the time- and yet we are so often inured, oblivious, lost in our devices and in our projections into the future. I feel the same despair that you do- it AMAZES me what people don’t see- and yet so often I’m under the same spell, lost in a similar trance. I’m grateful for those times that I do wake up from the sleepwalking and actually see the silent, astonishing beauty. I was told in a dream once about the “voicelessness of love”. I think the beauty of the world is a reminder of that love and a reflection of our true selves – if we would only look.
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So, dear readers, I would love to also hear from you. What are your experiences of having Art – or the natural everywhere beauty of Reality – wash away the dust of everyday?