Dharma Art Practice

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Michael D Kaup, modified 12 Years ago at 8/4/10 10:49 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/4/10 10:49 PM

Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/13/10 Recent Posts
In the lineage I practice in, Daido Roshi and the Mountains and Rivers Order, Art Practice is a specific area of training. The overground seems to be a perfect forum for sharing Dharma Arts. I make this post with the hope to create a new category for practicing the dharma through the arts; to have a place to share, and challenge one another in expressing the inexpressible. With that, I leave you:

Early Morn, a Summer's Eve

Quiet.
Free.
Still.
What could I need?
Soft vibrations twirl through my veins.
Softly wispering the joys of life.
Sit.
Be joyful.
Family is around.
Embrace them.
Embrace.
Let love love.
Release,
And it flows.
This is life.
This.
Though it’s bed time,
I don’t wish to sleep.
To live in joy.
But tomorrow brings its own joy.
A joy that too will pass.
Then what will I have?
Hopefully,
Nothing.



Please respond with comments, challenges, questions, or better yet, your own art practice, whatever the medium!!
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 8/7/10 10:43 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/7/10 10:43 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Alright, if you insist.

Two of my dharma poems, these just after stream entry in early 1996:

Sun rises
Night falls
together
a blazing darkness
that knows no enemies

***********

tactlessly and tirelessly
I swoop and soar
in mangled arcs
on dancing sparks
at once a saint and whore
finding merely bliss beyond compare
I despair...

blessed weariness
blessed, blessed forgetting
a puppy chases its vanishing tail
three times
and is gone!
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Florian, modified 12 Years ago at 8/8/10 5:26 AM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/8/10 5:26 AM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Heh, that puppy doing triple gyrations reminded me of something I wrote during A&P (as a teen-ager, as evident in the imagery)

Mountain Daughter
(Dream, 1991)

On the hilltop
Unbidden
Blaring summons

Far below
Green lawns
White houses

Downhill
Flirting music
At the pavillion

One-time love
Dancing
Elusively lumbering

Underneath in the outgrowth
The couple sits
Undaunted
The hour is known to him

Screened from the valley
The hollow
My eyes are shut fast
Before you

Huddled together
parted separation
You smooth down my hair
You smooth down my hair
You smooth down my hair

All alone.
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Daniel Johnson, modified 12 Years ago at 8/10/10 12:33 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/10/10 12:31 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Here is some of my Dharma Art.
Although, I don't really know what the phrase "dharma art" means. To me, this entire show of light and form that is the manifest universe seems like art. I don't really know anything that isn't art. I suppose in some sense, it's all the dharma too. As for a practice though, I've never thought of art much as a "practice" so much, so I'd be curious to hear more what you mean by that. For me, perhaps art practice would fit in the category of bhakti or devotion. For me it's just something I do for the love of this magical and beautiful world and nothing more. I suppose it might fit well with Actual Freedom practice, as I plan to get into that more soon, and the two might work well together based on the whole sensuous thing.






You can see more of my art here:
http://bhavanatraveler.blogspot.com/search/label/Art

Thanks for the poems
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Daniel M Ingram, modified 12 Years ago at 8/10/10 7:04 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/10/10 7:04 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 3231 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Very cool images and nice poems.

It is nice to see just a bit more of people and what they can do.

Daniel
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Michael D Kaup, modified 12 Years ago at 8/11/10 2:35 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/11/10 2:35 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/13/10 Recent Posts
Very cool work gentleman!

Daniel, I certainly agree that "this entire show of light and form that is the manifest universe seems like art." Well spoken.

In terms of Art Practice as a Way, I have here instructions for the last Ango Art Practice Assignment of the Mountains and Rivers Order. The included quote from
Guidelines for Studying the Way is Dogen, and the Instructions themselves were written by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Sensei.

Also, there are two excellent books on Art Practice that I know of:
The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori
and
Art as a Way by Frederick Franck



Ango Art Practice Assignment

- from Gakudo Yojin-shu, Guidelines for Studying the Way
Students should know that the Buddha way lies outside thinking, analysis, prophecy, introspection, knowledge, and wise explanation. If the Buddha way were in these activities, why would you not have realized the Buddha way by now, since from birth you have perpetually been in the midst of these activities?

Please try releasing your hold, and releasing your hold, observe: What is body-and-mind? What is conduct? What is birth-and-death? What is Buddha-dharma? What are the laws of the world? What, in the end, are mountains, rivers, earth, human beings, animals, and houses? When you observe thoroughly, it follows that the two aspects of motion and stillness do not arise at all. Though motion and stillness do not arise, things are not fixed. People do not realize this; those who lose track of it are many. You who study the way will come to awakening in the course of study. Even when you complete the way, you should not stop. This is my prayer indeed.



To directly experience oneself and the world, and to then express this experience, one must move beyond “thinking, analysis, prophecy, introspection, knowledge and wise explanation.” To do this, you must “release your hold” of all attachments to ideas, impressions, experiences and histories. In this way, you see beyond the superficial characteristics of things – “motion and stillness” – and see clearly that “things are not fixed.” From this clear, unobstructed place, we can then probe deeply into the nature of things beyond their appearances; “What are mountains, rivers, earth, human beings, animals and houses?”

For this Ango’s art practice, “release your hold” and observe the world around you. If you are in the city, let the sights, sounds and smells be of the city – observe it thoroughly. If you are in the mountains, suburbs, or by the ocean, let your own environment be your thorough observation. In your observing, meticulously release your hold of all thinking about what you experience, about art or the creative process, about your medium, about the purpose or goal of your efforts, or about what others may think about your work. Just observe, experience it directly, and then express what you observe, all without thinking, analysis or commentary.

Your subjects may be objects, places, situations or events, though they should be what you are actually observing. See things clearly for what they are – rather than what you want them to be or think about them – and then see them for what else they are. Remember, “things are not fixed.” Then, through your creative efforts, let your art reveal this for those who will experience your art.

The key here is that they express not what you think about what you are observing, but what you are directly observing and your intimate experience. Your pieces should open up your world for both yourself and others.
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Daniel Johnson, modified 12 Years ago at 8/13/10 5:22 PM
Created 12 Years ago at 8/13/10 5:22 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Hey Michael,
That sounds kinda like how I'd imagine zen art practice. That stuff sounds so cool in it's description (I really like Zen aesthetically speaking), but for me stuff like Vipassana has brought much more tangible progress.

For instance, it's not really clear how expressing my experience would bring about any insight for me into the true nature of things. In fact, maybe that's not the point, as it sounds like the point of the "expression" part of the practice is so that it may reveal your experience to others. This does seem sorta at the heart of Art in general, is to convey experience to others in a more direct way than with words, logic, etc. But, it does sorta leave me questioning why others should care about my experience, or why that's relevant in practice. Or, perhaps I'm misunderstanding somewhat. I guess what I'm getting at, is what is the actual aspiration behind art practice as compared with simple "direct experiencing" practice? And, how does art serve that purpose?

It sounds like it works for you as a practice, though. Yeah? If so, that's awesome. Can you share some of the effect the practice has had for you?
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Michael D Kaup, modified 11 Years ago at 8/18/10 9:56 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/18/10 9:45 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/13/10 Recent Posts
Daniel Johnson:
Why others should care about my experience? What is the actual aspiration behind art practice as compared with simple "direct experiencing" practice? And, how does art serve that purpose? Can you share some of the effect the practice has had for you?


Daniel, I appreciate the questions. I've taken time to reflect, and really consider.

I agree that it's about revealing ones experience to others. I feel that's important because one need not be an Arahant, or Stream Enterer, to have an experience that others can find value in. As I am aided by any number of postings and questions here on Dharmaoverground, so am I aided by many people's art and experience. I feel that by cognizing and relating an experience through art brings it into tangible reality. It's one thing to experience something on the cushion, but if it doesn't make it into your life, your experience with others and the world around you, it's of hugely deflated value. I feel art brings this experience and understanding from the cushion to your life.

I feel the aspiration of Art Practice compared with simple "direct experience" is that when reacting to an experience through the medium of art we make discoveries, we have insights that can be shared. By creating something, I'm left with a trace that I can examine; I can observe how I'm experiencing something. Am I adding something extra? I also enjoy it as a gauge to see to what extent am I bullshitting? Or am I really being with the object? I can then take that art, that trace as another means of communicating with my teacher, and he can see what my experience/insight, or lack there of, is.

In working with an object, I play with it. We begin to dance with each other, and I see things which I didn't see before. I see beauty I didn't see before. Sometimes I see ugliness I didn't see before. I see more and more how related we are to each other, and work to dissolve that which separates us.

Yesterday as I was enjoying my lunch, I observed the sun playing through blades of long grass. I took it as an opportunity to practice and composed:

Grasses bend
And shine in the sun;
Highlighting an array of colors and motion.
Bending,
Bowing in respect:
In gratitude.
How humble.
I would I could act with such humility as the grass.

Had I simply observed the grasses, I would have taken note of the colors, and motion, but I would have missed how the grass bows, how it shows gratitude, and in turn, that I should show it the same gratitude and humility in return.

I'm continuing to think about this, but that's what I have for now. Thoughts?

I'll have to take Mr. Ingram's frequent advice and get Stream Entry, and see how I feel about it then.
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S Kyle, modified 11 Years ago at 8/19/10 1:14 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/19/10 1:14 AM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 26 Join Date: 7/25/10 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Alright, if you insist.

Two of my dharma poems, these just after stream entry in early 1996:

Sun rises
Night falls
together
a blazing darkness
that knows no enemies



this is a really gorgeous poem. thanks for sharing.
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Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 8/20/10 3:05 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/20/10 3:05 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Thanks Michael for your thoughtful answer. I'm enjoying the conversation. I think you make some really good points about how art practice could be useful.

It also sounds dangerously close to a sorta narcisistic self-fascination... after the all the story of narcissis is that he got enraptured by the image he discovered as a reflection in a pool of water (his art). That there is a potential to get lost in the endless reflections which can go on and on with endless variety and beauty may mean that one never actually discovers that which is being reflected, so to speak (or at least, that's my interpretation of the Narcisis myth.) But, on a more felt-sense level, I can feel my own narcisistic fascination with images, appearances and beauty that feels equivalent to maybe about 3-4 years old when being a child and being fascinated with a certain flower and thinking that everyone should be so fascinated with it, or that it is *really important*, or for another example how many children go through a phase of fascination with their own feces.

Or, to perhaps try to fit it into a more MCTB like model... that art could be equivalent to more "content" and that for the progress of insight (and not necessarily the only valuable axis for progress) all that would matter is the sensations which make up the experience of art and seeing the three characteristics of that experience. So, I guess in that model it would fit in morality, which sounds fine to me.

I think that if Dharma art made it easier for a teacher to know where a student was at, I would be quite happy, as I often find it easier to express myself through art than through technical, conceptual linguistics. I suppose that depends on the nature of the teacher.

Anyway, I think it's cool, and obviously I love art, and if it works for you, keep going. I don't claim to be any kind of expert on any of this.

Be well,

Daniel
D C, modified 11 Years ago at 8/22/10 10:02 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 8/22/10 9:54 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 28 Join Date: 8/23/09 Recent Posts
Hi Michael,

How about the Integral idea (Ken Wilber et al, and those he borrows from) that with the enlightenment the unity in consciousness and practice that had -previously been spirit (aka religion as central to society) split into three realms - the true, the good, and the beautiful. The true being reason - exemplified in science, the good being ethics - politics, law and the like, and the beautiful being art, aesthetics as we have come to know it, etc.

Spirit in short is a creative happening, manifesting, becoming in these these three realms, and although no longer called 'spirit' in name, is still very much spirit in action.

And in this manifesting world of spirit we live in creativity is key. And because creativity is key art is a special site for spirit. All art is - past and present; however, contemporary art is spirit at its most full, spirit at the edge of its development and the harbinger of where we all might be at in the future (or now, as the case may be): Not simply discerning spirit in all, but creative agents in that process.

Ok potted summary over; I hope it made some sense. What I'd really like to suggest is that yogis and others interested in spiritual practice recognize that contemporary art is spirit at its most various and alive. This is not to suggest that art - poetry, painting, sculpture and so forth - with overt spiritual references such as we find in this thread, are not spirit in action, simply that the most potent site of art as spirit is to be found in contemporary art. It disappoints me that there is so little engagement with contemporary art in contemporary spiritual practice. Perhaps that's exactly how it should be. Did spirit need to lose its own rhetoric to progress?

And then the larger, even more interesting point - the radically inclusive recognition that yogis exist out in the world under other guises and names.

Thanks for raising the subject.

Damon
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Michael D Kaup, modified 11 Years ago at 9/9/10 11:24 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/9/10 11:24 AM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 9 Join Date: 7/13/10 Recent Posts
Daniel,
Likewise. An excellent conversation indeed. It certainly could become a narcissistic fascination, but if it does, then that narcissism is manifest right there, in the artwork, waiting to be seen.


Damon,
I forgot about Wilber. I agree. In terms of practice The True existing among the many, and being composed of, frequently, objective analysis, science, the maps, meditation instruction, ect, The Good existing between self and other the practice of ethics and morality, and the Beautiful, the virtue seen by ones own mind, the subjective experience, Art. I realize I pretty much just said what you said, I wanted to add was the relation ship to "I" "We" and "Its." The True- "Its," The Good- "We," and The Beautiful- "I."

Michael
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Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 9/10/10 3:18 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/10/10 1:27 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Michael D. Kaup:
It certainly could become a narcissistic fascination, but if it does, then that narcissism is manifest right there, in the artwork, waiting to be seen.

Yes, that's what most art is. I just watched a documentary on Salivador Dali... what a narcissist! He always refers to himself not as "I", but as "Dali" !! Lol! Also, when asked: "what is surrealism?" he answered "I am surrealism!" Lol! Still, his art is super intriguing and beautiful.

Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to bring the AF perspective in on this topic. And, I must say that it is the most sensible take I've read on it yet. Here is a quote from this page on imagination: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/selectedcorrespondence/sc-creativity.htm

RESPONDENT: I am a designer by profession.

RICHARD: I used to make a living as a practising artist (as well as being a qualified art teacher) so I can relate to your profession more than just a little bit.

RESPONDENT: Could you please elaborate on how the brain can think without visually imaging, or perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean? Your time is most appreciated.

RICHARD: Oh, no ... you have not misunderstood at all. You must be referring to this passage:

• [Richard]: ‘The entire imaginative/intuitive faculty has vanished. I literally cannot visualise, form images, envision, ‘see in my mind’s eye’, envisage, picture, intuit, feel, fall into a reverie, daydream or in any way, shape or form imaginatively access anything other than directly apprehending what is happening just here right now. I could not form a mental picture of something ‘other’ if my life depended upon it. I literally cannot make images ... whereas in my earlier years ‘I’ could get a picture in ‘my mind’s eye’ of ‘my’ absent mother, wife, children and so on ... or the painting ‘I’ was going to paint, or the coffee-table ‘I’ was going to build, or the route ‘I’ was going to take in ‘my’ car or whatever. If I were to close my eyes and ‘visualise’ now, what happens is the same velvety-smooth darkness – as looking into the infinite and eternal space of the universe at night – that has been the case for all these years now. I cannot visualise, imagine, conceptualise ... when I recall my childhood, my young manhood, my middle ages or yesterday it is as if it were a documentary on television but with the picture turned off (words only) or like reading a book of someone else’s life (...) I can intellectually know what a cow is like in that I can draw a reasonable facsimile; yet as I am drawing I cannot visualise what the finished drawing will be like ... it becomes apparent as the drawing progresses’.

The brain thinks perfectly well without ‘visually imaging’ ... much, much better than any ‘I’ can do. It all started over 20 years ago when the ‘I’ who was made a living as an artist ... ‘my’ greatest work came when ‘I’ disappeared and the painting painted itself in what is sometimes known as an ‘aesthetic experience’. This is the difference between art and craft – and ‘I’ was very good as a craftsman – but craft became art only when ‘I’ was not present. All art is initially a representation and, as such, is a reflection funnelled by the artist so that he/she can express what they are experiencing in order to see for themselves – and show to others – what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ as it were. However, when one is fully engrossed in the act of creating art – wherein the painting paints itself – the art-form takes on a life of its own and ceases to be a representation during the event. It is its own actuality. One can only stand in amazement and wonder – which is not to negate the very essential patiently acquired skills and expertise – and this marvelling is what was experienced back when I was a normal person.

It was this magical way of creativity that led ‘me’ into this whole investigation of life, the universe and what it is to be a human being. ‘I’ desired to live my whole life like these utter moments of artistic creation. ‘I’ wanted my life to live itself just like the paintings painted themselves and consequently here I am now ... and what I am (what not who) is the sense organs: this seeing is me, this hearing is me, this tasting is me, this touching is me, this smelling is me, and this thinking is me ... this is a direct experiencing of the actual in all its pristine freshness.

Whereas ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain ... which is an indirect experiencing of the actual (through a translucent veneer of what is called ‘reality’). As the perfection of the purity of the actual is inaccessible, the intuitive/imaginative facility is required to enhance experience ... an ersatz picture, in other words.

An aesthetic experience is somewhat akin to a pure consciousness experience (PCE).

RICHARD: Whereas ‘I’, the identity, am inside the body: looking out through ‘my’ eyes as if looking out through a window, listening through ‘my’ ears as if they were microphones, tasting through ‘my’ tongue, touching through ‘my’ skin, smelling through ‘my’ nose, and thinking through ‘my’ brain ... which is an indirect experiencing of the actual (through a translucent veneer of what is called ‘reality’). As the perfection of the purity of the actual is inaccessible, the intuitive/imaginative facility is required to enhance experience ... an ersatz picture, in other words.

RESPONDENT: Yes exactly. At the moment I’m reading Joseph LeDoux’s book ‘The Emotional Brain’, very interesting, but it is Win Wenger’s book ‘The Einstein Factor’ which prompted my question on imagination, coupled with my interest in creative thought (Win Wenger is an advocate of Image Streaming as a method to increase ones intelligence). In his book he gives these examples; Tesla’s Gift. • {quote}: ‘1. The intensity of Tesla’s Image Stream appeared to stimulate his genius. Among his many talents, Tesla possessed the remarkable ability to visualize his inventions in minute detail before even beginning to write them down. He would mentally build a new device part by part and test-run it, all in his imagination. So accurate were Tesla’s mental blueprints that he could diagnose a problem with a machine by the way it ran in his mind. ‘It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop’, he wrote. ‘I even note if it is out of balance. There is no difference whatever, By this means, Tesla developed all the basic mechanisms of today’s global electric power grid, including high-voltage transformers, long-distance transmission lines, hydroelectric generators, and alternating current’. • 2. ‘A Baseball Genius: Some years ago, I visited a friend in Chicago. My friend’s son was trying out for the high school baseball team but feared he wouldn’t make the cut because of his poor batting average. I worked with the boy for about an hour, employing many of the techniques that you will learn to use later in this book. In the course of our session, the boy discovered that he had the greatest success when he imagined a tiny flyspeck on the baseball and aimed his bat at that flyspeck rather than at the ball itself. This flyspeck gave him just the extra focus he needed to connect with the ball. It may seem a trivial insight, but its effect on the boy’s game was astonishing. In baseball, a .250 to .300 batting average is considered quite good. But during the first ten games of the season, this boy batted .800! He not only made the team but went on to be named Most Valuable Player for both the team and the league for that year. In a single one-hour session, we had succeeded in identifying a technique that made this boy a baseball genius’. • 3. ‘Genius does seem to be linked to the intensity of our subconscious imagery, but to be effective we must strike a balance. In striving to gain access on demand to intense and vivid imagery, we must also preserve the ability to squelch it at appropriate times. This balance is best achieved through a controlled process like Image Streaming, which allows us to choose the time and place of our imaging and to remain completely conscious and alert throughout the session’ {endquote}.

RICHARD: If one is going to accept the status-quo for what it is and ‘make the best of a bad situation’ then such concentrated and focussed effort as described above would probably be the better way to go. However, the way freedom works, and the basic theory/philosophy to formalise it, is this simple:

Back when I used to be able to visualise, what would happen is that it is all mapped out, planned in advance, and all that was left was a ‘colouring-in-by-numbers’ style of painting and/or drawing and/or whatever. All the creativity was confined to mental-emotional imagery department – a dream-like fantasy – which rarely, if ever, translated into pen and paper or paint and canvas ... with the resultant frustration in being unable to manifest the vision into actuality. The main reason was that the mental picture was not constrained by the physical medium and thus compromises inevitably creep in, even early in the piece. One is then left with trying to force actuality into fitting the fancy ... with less than desirable results. What I discovered, when the ‘painting painted itself’, was that actuality ruled the roost, as it were, and magically manifested perfection ... such as to leave me, as I remarked (further above) standing in amazement and wonder, marvelling at this magical creativity.

Modesty – especially false modesty – disappeared along with pride ... ‘I’ was not doing this.

I saw and understood that we humans were trying to make life fit our petty demands; our pathetic dreams; our desperate schemes ... and who am ‘I’ to know better than this infinite, eternal and perpetual universe how to do it. Because all the while, perfection was abounding all about ... magically unfolding, each moment again, if only one would give oneself permission to ‘let go the controls’ and allow it all to happen of its own accord. Again, none of this is to negate the very essential patiently acquired skills and expertise ... otherwise one is as a leaf blowing in the wind (‘think not of the morrow’ and all that nonsense). Initially I described it as ‘being like a child again but with adult sensibilities’. Of course, time would show me that being ‘child-like’ is not it ... but that was ‘my’ beginning explanation back then when seeking to understand.

Back in 1980 ‘I’ looked at the stars one night and temporarily came to my senses: there are galaxies exploding/imploding (or whatever) all throughout the physical infinitude where an immeasurable quantity of matter is perpetually arranging and rearranging itself in endless varieties of form all over the boundless reaches of infinite space throughout the limitless extent of eternal time and ‘I’ – puny, pathetic ‘I’ in an ant-like-in-comparison and very vulnerable 6’2’’ flesh and blood body – disapprove of all this? That is, ‘I’ call all this a ‘sick joke’, or whatever depreciative assessment? And further: so what if ‘I’ were to do an about-face and graciously approve? What difference would that make to the universe?

Zilch.

Ergo: ‘I’, with all my abysmal opinions, theories, concepts, values, principles, judgements and so on, am not required at all ... ‘I’ am a supernumerary. ‘I’ am redundant; ‘I’ can retire; fold ‘my’ hand; pack in the game, die, dissolve, disappear, disintegrate, depart, vamoose, vanish – whatever – and life would manage quite well, thank you, without ‘me’ ... a whole lot better, in fact, as ‘I’ am holding up the works from functioning smoothly ..

‘I’ am not needed ... ‘my’ services are no longer required.
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Steph , modified 11 Years ago at 9/10/10 2:13 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/10/10 2:13 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Thanks for posting that from the AF site, Daniel.

I can speak from the bit of experience I've had with this too. Since practicing actualism, my visual imagination has become much more scarce. When I close my eyes it is either black or slight color fields at times, which could just be the light behind the eyelids and not an actual visualization. During my most intense A&P experiences I would see wildly psychedelic images & patterns in my visual field... sometimes like the gold filigree found in Islamic art, sometimes vivid paisley patterns, blasts of highly saturated color, and sometimes religious relics morphed in with all this. I no longer get that. I can relate to Richard's comments about the "imagination" or "memory" being like a narrative dialogue too. This is all particularly interesting to me, as I have participated in many artistic endeavors (film being one of them) and even fancied myself a daydreamer before. Despite not having this visualization ability as strongly, I don't feel a loss. I haven't even had a desire to create art. There is a pen & ink line drawing that I made and it's on my bedroom wall... it's there to look at often, and somehow having that there is enough. I see new things in it all the time. Same goes for the other two illustrations on my wall by other artists. I don't know if I'll return to wanting to make art.. I might and if so I'm curious to see with continued practice of actualism how that comes about and what art comes of it.

Have you been practicing actualism methods too, or just been reading up on it? Would be cool to hear your experiences with this too.

Also, check out the second article in this DhO post entitled "The Ghost Not": http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/970818
It discusses how the reasoning processes differs between scientists, alchemists, and artists.. using Van Gogh and Magritte as examples.

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Steph
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Daniel Johnson, modified 11 Years ago at 9/10/10 3:58 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 9/10/10 3:57 PM

RE: Dharma Art Practice

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/16/09 Recent Posts
Steph S:
I don't know if I'll return to wanting to make art.. I might and if so I'm curious to see with continued practice of actualism how that comes about and what art comes of it.

Have you been practicing actualism methods too, or just been reading up on it? Would be cool to hear your experiences with this too.


After reading Richard's comments on art, I was very intrigued to start my art practice again and try to do it in a completely non-imaginary way as Richard describes (and simultaneously non-selfish way).

I was reading a lot about imagination the last couple days on the AF website, as I was very curious about memories, imagination, and creativity from the AF perspective. It's funny how creativity and imagination were so synonymous in my mind! And, I was always a huge fan of the "imagination is more important than knowledge" line. I can see now how strange that concept is. And, it explains so much about why I had so many difficulties in my art process. I always thought that if I could imagine my art more clearly, I'd be more equipped to get it to look like how I want it to. Of course, that never worked, and my best art has never been my pre-imagined pieces.

I've been reading up on Actualism, and practicing too (it's hard for me to do one without the other if I'm being sincere in my reading). I posted on your thread (which I've been reading about your practice by the way).

I read a lot of the AF website over the last two days, and wow! I had no idea there was so much information there. Things are becoming much more clear for me about the practice and how it differs from spiritual practices. I haven't abandoned my insight practice yet, but it's looking sillier and sillier as the days go by... to try to achieve what seems to be a very imaginary state called "enlightenment." Even now as I read more and more people's descriptions of enlightenment, it sounds like a totally imaginary superimposed reality on top of what is actually happening. The discussion on imagination is what has led me to see this more... and if it doesn't even make people happy and harmless, what's the point? But, again... I haven't thrown it out totally just yet.

I remember always loving the quote of Michaelangelo that when he sculpted David, he said the sculpture was already in the rock, and his job was just to chisel away and reveal it. I used to always take that to mean: Michaelangelo had a very vivid imagination, and when he looked at the rock, and noticed it's attributes, he was able to imagine exactly the sculpture that would be perfect for that rock... and then he chiseled it out (similar to Tesla's descriptions quoted above). Now, I think that possibly Michaelangelo could have been an actualist sculptor and that he quite literally meant that there was already a sculpture in the rock (as the rock which makes the sculpture actually was within the larger rock already... in actuality). And, that he actually just chiseled away the parts of the rock which weren't the sculpture. Since Michaelangelo isn't alive, I can't ask him, but it's interesting to consider this new perspective.

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