Art and awareness as a journey into ourselves – Part 6

The innermost being shown in the outermost covering

Art and awareness as a journey into ourselves – Part 6

To part 5

The centre

There are four horizontal directions, and at their nexus is the fifth – the centre. Immediately evoking the vertical axis, it points to the fifth Platonic body, which symbolises the sky: the dodecahedron and the pentagram, generating out of the golden section. This centre is not the everchanging murky mixture of opposites, weak in endless entropy.  This centre is the royal seat of the central force, from which the opposites develop like wings. This centre is within. But this “within” is not the “within” which lies hidden below a surface, and can be researched with microscopes and discovered with scalpels. This “within” is rather an empty space, a dimensional shift, the inside of a temple, whose highest purpose is to be a vessel of a higher level reality. An elated, atmospherically prepared space, into which the spirit-soul dimension can come; into which it can descend, to operate from there. This is a descent down into the psychological and physical cells of the body, with the force of the soul and the spirit to illuminate them, and to make them fertile for the growth of the inner man.

Art is a workshop, a school of insight, which leads from knowledge to wisdom, and from emotion to love, and always partaking of the whole. Art does not divide the stuff of life into good and evil. Rather, it works with everything as its substance. It forges the innermost heart fire. It dissolves, binds and rebuilds.

Art can transform the screams of existence into symphonies, which open like flowers to receive what lies beyond the human being, and which are, at the same time, his deepest foundation. This can only happen subjectively, and it can only succeed if the orientation is focused on the whole. Some artists are harbingers of the whole, the One Soul.

Art is created through an I, through a person. If it is about a spiritual process rather than a presentation of the I, then this I will necessarily undergo a radical process of transformation. This can be put in a nutshell: although I am not the goal, I cannot reach it without myself.

The veil of Isis

With so much insight and knowledge of what lies behind and beneath the appearance of nature, and with all the consequences that we have conjured up as “sorcerer’s apprentices”, I do not want to further lift the “veil of Isis”. The discoveries and the domination of nature are dangerous and cannot last, if the human being does not learn to simultaneously know and to control himself. This is the direction in which we must move – it is essential that we learn of this inner work place. The masters who teach about it are numerous. One of the most patient masters is the manifested, universal nature itself. Nature is the expression of an intelligence that is not anthropocentric. It appears and can be interpreted through its forms. Its dimensions of interpretation tend to be infinite.

No interpretation can grasp the whole, and yet the whole is also in the particular, the separate, the fragment. There, it shines. A drop of water is tiny, and yet the ocean dreams in it. A blade of grass, which cannot be seen by the lawn-mower as a single form, is an amazing structure of elasticity and stability, and manifests a synthesis of directive force, tenderness and elegance. Our perception causes interpretations, and interpretations cause value judgements. And thus, in a mostly unconscious creative process, a steady stream of world views is generated. This generation of images reflects the reality of the interpreter, and simultaneously creates it.

From the midst of the cosmic noise of the subatomic background radiation of quarks, realities arise and recede, whirling and dancing in unimaginably vast and empty space. If you can understand this, then you can ask yourself frankly: how does the sensory and visible appear like a thin skin on the surface of a “body made of emptiness”? In the Sufis’ view, the forms of the world are the language of the arch-angels in their glorification of God, in the cosmic liturgy.

Against the background of all the insight into what lies behind, the outermost appearance becomes more clearly perceptible: it is a manifested secret – the outermost veil that still belongs to the goddess. She is everything that was (quid fuit), that is (quid est) and that will be (quid erit). And the seeker can certainly discover everything that he can grasp in her outermost veil, in her outermost covering. Perhaps these veils do not have to be lifted or torn away like masks that cover the true face, but they become transparent and fade away by themselves, the more the once blind interpreter gains true sight. Perhaps then their innermost being will be revealed through their outermost personality layer that once apparently obscured it, and the blissful smile of heaven will shine: a smile which illuminates all the veils from within.

The inconspicuous

Therefore, I want to have a closer look at the inconspicuous forms of nature, that are so abundant. I take these humble objects into my workshop, put them on the altar of mindfulness, and make them my models that I draw and paint … to question and look at what is thought of as so obvious, as if I am seeing it for the first time, or perhaps for the last … I feel as if nature is looking for eyes that can truly see her.


I then sometimes forget the old and vehement fight, the artificial enmity between the picture and the word.

I forget the discussion about mimesis, about the quandary of appearance and being that has haunted and stimulated me at the same time.

I forget that “everything” is said to be only an illusion, a deception and a chasing after wind.

I forget that “everything” is said to be only a meaningless coincidence, and can be reduced to a dozen particles, which make up the universe with a probability glue; and that “everything else” – God and meaning – are simply our interpretation, because we cannot bear to exist in an arbitrary, godless and senseless world.

I forget that in Islam there is supposed to be a special part of hell reserved for painters who dare to be creative. The drafters of this order could obviously not imagine that such “imitation” of creation might not be a blasphemy, but a way of appreciation and thanksgiving.

I forget that modern art has long since successfully overcome naturalism.

I forget that nature is misused and end-used, that it is manipulated and used for the insatiable hunger of supercharged deficiency programmes driven by instinct.

I forget that nature has been reduced to scenery in front of which a ridiculous, absurd world theatre ruminates on its millennia old and unresolved dramas, in pretentious overconfidence, as an opportunity to know the hidden causes, and without integrating the divine, only because raging fanatics have made a weapon out of God to use against each other … I forget, forget, forget.

There they are, lying in the daylight, the things I collected. I see….and paint. An awake, nourishing and peaceful silence comes and descends like a breath from another atmosphere. As if there were wings of breath also in the head. My hand reacts refreshed, and celebrates a feast. It dances across the canvas, now its dance floor on which it inscribes “everything”. Is it surprising that then “everything” becomes a prayer, a glorification, thankfulness and joy? There is a fall, a flight – into the innermost being!


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Date: January 14, 2019
Author: Alfred Bast (Germany)
Photo: Ruth Alice Kosnick

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