The heart essence of the spiritual life for me is the search for truth and beauty. Truth and beauty, these rare and precious jewels, shine like beacons in a muddled world of banal entertainment and distraction. How are we to go about actualizing them in our everyday lives?
A powerful and profound method for nurturing these gems is the meditation on and contemplation of abstract art. If we want to understand the deep and subtle meaning behind this art form, however, we need to uncover the primordial world of grace that is hiding in plain sight.
The everyday world that we live in, the world of mortgages, jobs and bank statements is a shadow world. It’s the world that our discursive minds have created that obscures the real world, the world of pure perception.
We see the primal world of naked reality through the hazy filters of thoughts, feelings and emotions that our monkey minds generate and project onto this vast, lush, gorgeous field of sensory experience. These filters create a version of reality that obscures the sacred space of the here and now, leaving us in a stale, mundane world of frenzied activity, wrestling with our hopes and fears.
Abstract art helps to break down the habit of solidifying our perceptions into a leaden world of frozen objects. Take the image Sonata, for example. It looks like it could be a tableau of solid objects. Look closely, however, and you can find nothing that is recognizable. It is something like an alien world. We are forced to accept the patterns as what they truly are, themselves and nothing but themselves. At the same time, it exposes our habit of solidifying shifting changing patterns into separate distinct entities which, when it fails, brings us into the wonderous world of naked awareness.
Abstract art is the tool that I use to play with my perceptions and continually rediscover the fundamental ground of existence, which is awareness or pure presence.