A few years ago I went on a solitary retreat to Block Island, RI. I found a beautiful spot where I meditated, painted and walked every morning, afternoon and night. A nice deck cantilevered on an ever-changing marsh.
Leaning over the rails, I could count myriads of greens, and discover pinks, reds, blues, violets, yellows and oranges in lavish tonal varieties.
The wind moved the grasses below at times ever so gently and quite swiftly at other times.
Birds of all sorts visited. Majestic hawks perched above the peak of the house across the way or circled above me.
In the morning, subtle brush stroke-like streaks swept the magnificent ever-changing blue sky, and every afternoon, rolling clouds created amazing violet and pink layered shapes. The sheer vastness was simply breath-taking.
A perfect place to meditate with open eyes!
One late afternoon I stayed on my cushion past dusk and into the night, and I heard a hawk’s screech above me. The piercing shrillness soon became a song inviting me to see beyond what was there. Accepting the challenge I opened my eyes and fearlessly focused on the bird’s imposing shape.
Then… it happened.
My chest seemed to open for the rising moon to take over my heart. I felt a comforting coolness and blinding brightness as the entire shape of my body melted into the silvery glow.
A reassuring calmness settled on the marsh. But Nature was alive.
The wind was clearly speaking. At first I was unaware of any distinct language, and then I found myself asking questions, and hearing answers. I asked if I was dreaming, and I heard that perhaps I was exploring. I asked if the moon was really on my chest, and I heard that I was the moon. I was invited to see with the moon’s “eyes” and be within the sky. I did. A wolf howled in the distance until finally, a profound peace enveloped me…
As the sun’s fire peeked over the horizon I fell asleep knowing that I needed to make that experience visible in a painting.
A year passed where I practiced in deep meditation with open and closed eyes and had vivid dreams; but I could not find the right medium to portray what I felt on the magical deck.
One day, as I was cleaning the studio, an old laptop screen appeared and I knew that this was the perfect surface to depict oneness and wonderment.
My version of the Block Island night is the black shadow box representing the everyday mind frame with live in; tightly containing all the things, people and situations we know. These are the stories, roles and mental constructs that rule our experience. It is the seemingly unbending world that binds us to ever-repeating behaviors, thoughts and attitudes.
Yet the box is made of wood. We just have to notice that and pierce it with a hawk’s shrillness.
The second layer with silvery stripes glimmers with possibility. If we allow our minds to connect with our hearts, we may see and experience new ideas. The lines are sparks of moonlight beckoning us to break down our rigid ego-ruled mind and dig deeper to uncover our dreams and resolve to make them manifest.
The lines are made of shiny silver dust. There we can clip our pat answers, dullness, anger, fear, and scarcity.
And dust can be swept away!
Parting the veil, we see the vastness of a light-filled universe suffused with love-the center black screen, and realize that it feels familiar. We just had to go deeper inward and consider a hawk’s vision to take over our hearts propelling us toward oneness with the Universe.
The Universe is inside our hearts all the time.
It is where we experience freedom and find answers to questions we did not know to ask. Deepak Chopra calls it the realm of potentiality and others say that it is the realm of God.
It is always within us.
The mixed media artwork shows us that to hear our hearts’ voice we must start from inside it. Deep within, we can courageously face the imposing figure of our unrealized dreams, and reject nothing; consider possibilities without attachments or aversions and commit to enlightened action in pursuing our path as if we were in an ever-changing marsh surrounded by the vastness of the sky and guided by the vision of a hawk.
So the next time you throw up your hands and say “I let Spirit handle it”, look within. You are Spirit in human form. Open your heart and LOVE!
The art is on display at E. Shan Tang-Asian Healing Arts Center-171 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA, but can be purchased at SPIRIT WITHIN-HEAVEN