Thursday, September 30, 2010

See The Light

If you want to learn the truth of something imagine looking at it from the side you can't see.

Dana Bate
I used this idea once before, about 2 years ago. I don't remember what I wrote about and can't find that entry at the moment. But I'm a bit older and wiser(?) now.

I know I wrote about my great drawing teacher Gregory DiLessio, who one day had us draw the model as if we were seeing her from the opposite side of the room. It was a very tricky exercise. I was seeing her from the side so it wasn't that hard. I can't imagine what it was like for those seeing her from the back.

When it comes to politics, religion and social issues I read what those I disagree with write and say and respectfully try to imagine seeing the issues from the opposing point of view. It's just as tricky as the drawing exercise.

But now I've assumed another level of that exercise. From the smug anti-narcissistic practice of standing in my own shadow, I now contemplate myself in my mental mirror and wonder, and try to imagine what I look like from the other side. I want to know who the invisible individual is, the one not made of skin, eyes, tongue, organs, blood and bones. Who is the individual of pure spirit, of pure idea? When the mortality is dropped and let go off, when the old man is put off, what is the new man, the man that has always been there but who has been covered by the imperfect.

In simpler life forms the root, stem and blossom of the flower may easily and gracefully collide with it's real, invisible being. In art the human figure may be defined by the important parts of the figure, the cranium, rib cage, pelvis and the legs, arms and jaw attached to it. But it is the real story, the invisible story of that figure that the artist tries to capture in his drawing. or painting.

I try to look past the mask I see in my mirror and imagine what I look like from the face that is looking back at me, the nonmaterial, unsubstantial face. What invisible figure is apparent, beyond age, race and gender, beyond limitations. fantasies and illusions.

I think the secret is not in us but beyond us, on the other side of us. I look at other people and know there is a spiritual creature there not represented by the human figure I see. Who are the substantial ones, those I see on the street or those I see in my dreams?

I was told by my family that "light" was the very first word I uttered in the wisdom of my infancy. Creation begins with light. And then what follows, love (in its universal sense), power, joy?

After all these many decades I begin to see only slight slivers of light, but enough to tell me it's there. I continue to look for it in myself and in all those I meet and know, because I must.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

1 response so far.

Thank you.


Gerry said...

I like this idea. I think people are rather mysterious and sometimes in dreams I see them in a different way than I do in 'reality' as though I were seeing more, so I keep searching in the dream for meaning and think what am I supposed to see here I didn't before? My dream is telling me I am missing something important. A part of their essence not readily visible. Sometimes I will have an urge to contact someone so I can find something in them not readily accessible. I know if I have patience and keep searching I will find this missing center of being. Maybe it is the light. If I find it it will warm me. Once I was talking to my aunt, the wife of my uncle who became forever missing in the war. I was talking and talking and suddenly I saw her soul. I had moved into her house because I sensed a treasure there when I was in college. She had been her mother's baby sitter caring for her younger brothers and sisters all her life. By moving into her house one day just like that I saw her soul. We both were awestruck by what just happened.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is interesting to wonder how others see us...

krissy knox said...

db, this post is beautiful. simply beautiful. to be able to see yourself in a new light, a more pure light, and to be able to see others that way is just beautiful. and to imagine your first word of significance was light! that is very special! you have a gift of looking at things in a very special way! krissy :)