Sunday, December 19, 2010
Art intrigues me. So much possibility in this frozen rock garden. Life abounds here, even in this moment of restricted repose. Is the archway leading to a quiet inner space or opening to a huge vista of insight? The trees dusted with life, silently watching us watch this scene. Can I draw out the trace* within this piece of art? Or just allow this photo to inspire me to continue seeking my own muse? Both are possible, both are honorable. Grateful to this artist who opened this particular path of inquiry in my mind.
I am reminded that the mind is a tool; yet how often does the free flowing thoughts of my mind appear to me more as a hindrance? But yes it is a tool, and like any tool I must undertake to study the craft of how the mind works. The guitar, mindfulness meditation, Qi Gong, and the Alexander Technique are different ways for me to study and to hone my skills with the mind. Art, be it in the form of painting, sculpture, literature, photography, dance, or music allows me to glimpse this trace that others have experienced. And in this glimpse, I draw closer to this precious moment they have awakened me to. What I do with this moment remains key.
And then, in mere moments I am the frozen rock garden. My emotions steeled at a perceived slight. Stuck in the archway that leads to habitual responses, while simultaneously desiring a better way. Slowly my breath cracks the ice that has stifled my energy. I stand and allow the graceful movements of Qi Gong to unfreeze the rocks that my limbs have become. Allowing my body to lengthen rather than collapse around my heart I begin again. The mind, the body, and the heart all must be tended to with care. When the body is tired, the heart is vulnerable, the mind fickle. Choosing to apply the practices balance is restored, at least for now.
Note: * "Art is, after all, only a trace – like a footprint which shows that one has walked bravely and in great happiness."
— Robert Henri