Art – a touch of another reality

'It is not, however, that there is a certain object that must be known, but rather it is about entering a state beyond the rational mind, into a state of contemplation' (Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, "Dzogchen Teachings")

Art – a touch of another reality

Inspirations for inner development, spiritual transformation, can be found in various ancient texts considered sacred. They are also present in our daily life, however, not everyone is able to see them, look at the world in an appropriate way – one could say “with the sight of the soul”. But there are people who have mastered this skill to a large extent: we call them artists. They can stop for a moment in this world engulfed in feverish activity and look at reality differently. And then they try to share what they have noticed with others. We call the results of these efforts art. It is easy to see that in all its varieties art often speaks about love and longing for another realm, even if only indirectly.

Many people have wondered for centuries whether we need such unproductive activity, providing nothing that could be materially useful, for instance, to eat or clothe ourselves. On the surface, this activity seems to be useless and, in addition, it can cause unnecessary anxiety in many people. However, it has not disappeared over the centuries, and there are still many people who are willing to devote their entire lives to it, even at the cost of a reduced standard of their existence.

Of course, some types of art, especially contemporary art, can be very controversial. The stimuli they produce seem to be too disturbing and disharmonious. And yet there are people who seek out such works, because they need such impressions to liven up the dullness caused by everyday life. Everyone needs to walk a slightly different way to understand the futility of ordinary existence.

Some prefer classical music, because it makes their reality cleaner and more orderly, while for others it is pop or rock music that triggers intense existential experiences and stimulates deep reflection on the meaning of human existence.

Certain forms of artistic activity are not easily understood by the public. For example, some street performances and installations do not evoke sublime feelings and are not beautiful, but they aim to extract from everyday reality some amazing things that we do not notice in everyday life, where we are overwhelmed by our excess of responsibilities. They use various situational contexts that attempt to stimulate our sensitivity to the extraordinariness of certain events. For it is not the form of the message that matters, but where it leads us.

There is an irresistible need in many people forcing them to associate with works of art, and sometimes making them willing to pay a great price for owning one of the more famous paintings. This can sometimes be explained by snobbery or a desire for profit. But the question remains, why exactly do these works gain such value? Sometimes this puzzles us very much, until we have a chance to see them. Because often when we look at an excellent painting or a famous sculpture, it takes us for a moment into a different reality. While we are lost in the work momentarily, afterwards the memory of the touch of this other world remains in us, and we long for it.

But not everyone has the opportunity to commune with outstanding works. Isn’t it possible to get this effect in an easier, more accessible way? Well, it is possible. All you need to do is learn to look properly, awaken your ability to see with the eyes of the soul, and try to perceive your surroundings with them. Because if we do this, we will find the world is full of amazing things that can inspire us to pursue the true goal of human life.

Somewhere over the rainbow,

Blue birds fly

Birds fly over the rainbow

Why then, oh why can’t I?[i]

[i] These are the words of the famous song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. An interesting version of this song performed by Angelina Nava can be found on YouTube at the link:

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Date: October 24, 2020
Author: Ewa and Janusz Brzdęk (Poland)
Photo: David Mark via Pixabay

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