born between words
holding jeweled feathers.
Left facing ruby
a bird’s eye view
of rec-tangled flags
and a prayer.
Blog of illustrator Susan Leopold
Sound has a profound effect on the senses. It can be both heard and felt. It can even be seen with the mind’s eye. It can almost be tasted and smelled. Sound can evoke responses of the five senses. Sound can paint a picture, produce a mood, trigger the senses to remember another time and place. From infancy we hear sound with our entire bodies. When I hear my own name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through my back or my hand or my chest as through my ears. Sound speaks to the sensorium; the entire system of nerves that stimulates sensual response
(Louis Colaianni, The Joy of Phonetics and Accents)
So how did “C” get its sounds? How was “C” able to find a voice? Poet and philosopher Dejan Stojanovic wrote that “sound unbound by nature becomes bounded by art.” Bounding or framing is a way of creatively shaping experience, allowing something new to emerge. “C” was able to engage in creative process, while shaping and transforming unbound sound. This artistic exploration allowed a surprising and fresh sound to emerge. And that is how “C” was able to find a voice.
What is animal presence? Why do animals visit in dreams? James Hillman, founder of archetypal psychology wrote that from a depth perspective of the world
all things are displays, and imagination and perception, invisible and visible, intuition and sensation do not fall apart when discerned with an animal eye (Animal Presences, Spring, 2008).
So what is an animal eye? What is it like to look at the world with an animal eye? Hillman speaks to using another kind of vision that moves beyond the usual correspondences, symbolization and metaphors that we usually impose on animals in attempting to define their meaning. Through leaning into the mysterious otherness of animals, by
bringing our superior postures to the level of the creature, kneeling to it, condescension, we begin to see as they do; a transposed eye […] to see with the creaturely eye is an act of imagining the world so that it appears in continuing animation, in a continuing play of creation with which human consciousness participates by means of imagining acts. (Hillman, 2008)
Here the creative imagination is not a gift that is bestowed upon us in order to create great works of art, images or ideas. Animal vision is a way of releasing what already exists. When we see with the animal eye we are able to see and connect with creative process that is ongoing and the possibilities that exist in play. Hillman emphasizes that
the human imagination is not the creator, does not create; it sees the creative, creatively (Hillman, 2008)
Seeing creatively with the animal eye is a way to open, improvise and play your way into creative process.
“…That’s why we have the Museum, Matty, to remind us of how we came, and why: to start fresh, and begin a new place from what we had learned and carried from the old.” Lois Lowry, Messenger
The transitional space between old and new feels like a shifting energetic pause. Time is marked by rituals of looking and stepping back, maybe even gathering up and holding on to last years moments. Review, reflect, let go….then into the New, clean slate and fresh start. A re-new cycle begins.
Part of moving forward includes looking back as a way of combining and integrating (hopefully) the best of past with future. The art of knowing where we are, includes knowing where we came from and where we plan to go. Maybe this “looking in” knowledge is what allows us to stand in the now and direct fresh energy towards a renewed creative cycle.
Wishing you creativity, health and joy in the New Year.
Posted in Creativity
Tags: 2014, art, artists on tumblr, Arts and Entertainment, attention, beginners mind, buddhism, collage, creative art therapy, creativity, creativity development, education, entertainment, Facebook, focus, fresh start, Google+, happy new year, Holiday, illustration, inspiration, learning, Literature, lois lowry, looking back, mental-health, mindfulness, new directions, New Year's Eve, new years resolutions, newyear, painter, painting, Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality, resolution, ritual, spirituality, teaching, transition, transitional space, Twitter, visual art, Works
Recently I came across the Contemplative Photography movement, which incorporates Buddhist mindfulness practice with Western ways of seeing the world. Contemplative Photography practice is based on holding an intention of learning to look and see through a lens of nonattachment. Through practice, you begin to trust the gaps in discursive thought where clear seeing and inspiration emerge in your art.
Matthieu Ricard describes Contemplative photography as
seizing the present moment as one would delicately hold a poppy without shedding its petals. It is about nonattachment; one has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, but everything to offer to the eyes of the viewer (from jacket of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the world with fresh eyes, written by Andy Carr and Michael Wood, Shambala, 2011)
Miksang is a Tibetan word which means “Good Eye”. The practice is founded on Shambala and Dharma Art Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. The word “good” relates to uncluttered vision and seizing the present moment. In the following video “Miksang” practice is explained in a way I hope you find inspiring.
Posted in Creativity
Tags: art, artists on tumblr, attention, beginners mind, buddhism, Centers and Groups by Region, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche., collage, contemplative photography, creative art therapy, creativity, creativity development, Dharma, education, entertainment, Facebook, focus, Google+, illustration, image, James Hillman, learning, Lineages, Meditation, mental-health, Miksang, Miksang photography, mindfulness, narrative, nature, outdoors, painter, painting, Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality, Shambala, spirituality, teaching, Tibetan Buddhism, Twitter, United States, video, visual art, Works, YouTube, Zen
By Deborah Barlow
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