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Article Teaser: The Museum of Modern Art in NY held an exhibit featuring a painting by Renoir. About 140,000 viewers came to admire this work. They all saw the sky, the sea, and the sailboat. But, not one of the 140,000 viewers noticed that the painting was hung upside down. Why not? Because we see what we expect to see. Now I don't know if this story is actually true. I heard it on a TV courtroom drama, but it certainly illustrates a truism. See how clear your vision really is in this article.

Keep reading below...

When you can't see for looking

Copyright (c) 2007-2017

Last weekend I took part in a seminar in Portland Oregon. The seminar was a deeply inspiring experience. Part of the magic was meeting friends I've been conversing with for over a year.

Everyone had their picture on the online forum. Yet, I twice passed the person meeting me at the Portland airport before we finally focused into recognizing one another.

Is your artist's vision always clear? Are you seeing from inside your heart or are you looking out at the surface of things? How can we know whether we're looking at, or seeing into things?

I live in a very small community where people walk along the roads. Everyone waves as they drive past. Most of the time you cannot really see who is driving by, because of the reflection on the windshield. I know this, having lived here for 27 years. Yet when I wave while driving past someone, I often feel ignored if they don't wave back.

How can I forget what it's like to be the pedestrian? Depending on which side of the glass I'm on, my memory tends to be selective. How often do we forget to see into things instead of just looking at them?

Looking and seeing both start with sense perception, but there the similarity ends.

We do a lot of looking. We look at television, computer monitors, strangers on the street, clocks, passing scenes through car windows. But we see less and less. Books and videos, cameras and gadgets tend to take over our thinking, feeling, and seeing. Looking makes us spectators; subjects that look at objects.

While looking keeps us on the surface of things, seeing leads us into the heart of the subject.

We look at the world and label its phenomenon, make immediate choices, instant appraisals, like or dislike, accept or reject. What we look at is useful to us, this outer us that we imagine ourselves to be.

Look out! Of course we need the ability to look. The purpose of looking is to survive, to cope, to manipulate, to choose or avoid what is useful or harmful to us.

On the other hand, to see means to understand. When you really see something, you can let go of judgments and see with calm discernment. Then the darkness softens.

In seeing, you become all eyes, forget about the small self, dive into reality, become part of it, take part in it. In seeing, you no longer need to choose or label. You open yourself in partnership, and shared kinship of life.

Is this starting to sound quite intimate? It is intimate: as intimate as any relationship could be; as intimate as we dare to allow.

"What you have not drawn, you have never really seen", said Frederick Franck. In seeing ordinary things, you realize how extraordinary everything is. The structure of a grasshopper, the branching of a tree are sheer miracles.

"A mouse is a miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels", wrote Walt Whitman. Among The Ten Thousand Things of ancient Chinese wisdom, there is no ordinary thing.

In this twenty-first century, to stop rushing around, to sit quietly, to switch off the busy-ness and return to the earth, to allow the eye to really see a willow, a dandelion, a cloud, a feather, is an unforgettable experience.

Never has it been more urgent to begin seeing, to turn from being onlookers, with the juice of experience drying up. Seeing can be a way of reconnecting with everything and experiencing the Oneness.

The eye is the lens of the heart, open to the world. Your vision will become clear only when you can see into your own nature and out into the world at the same time. Your nature and that of the world are essentially the same.

"We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are." Anais Nin

In the process of drawing, painting, or sculpting ordinary things, you are a conduit through which your commonality with all things becomes visible.

There are some things about ourselves which are not so visible to us at first. Our protective minds have a sneaky way of hiding things we aren't comfortable seeing. Staying oriented to outer appearances is one way we unconsciously believe we'll be protected.

Another way is to avoid altogether taking lines or ideas for our art from anything "out there", in the illusion that we are creating everything from inside ourselves. These two examples are really quite similar.

Every artist has experienced a place on the continuum between the two extremes. And it changes all the time too, though you can learn to be aware of your own tendencies.

How clever and powerful our everyday minds are! And, thank goodness for that.

The journey of becoming more human is an exercise of our abilities to look and see more deeply. What we risk is exposing ourselves to knowing that we are not separate.

"Who looks outside, dreams; who sees inside awakes." Carl Jung

It takes real courage to surrender the illusion of separateness, even for a few minutes.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Hello, I'm Celeste Varley and have been an artist at heart all my life. It is my privilege and passion to help seekers awaken the Creator within. If you like this article, you may want to see more "Fresh Horses" articles on my website. Check it out and see if it's right for you. http://www.heartsongstudio.com
Celeste Varley, Heartsong Studio, Awakening the Creator within.

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Top-Level Category: Arts and Crafts Articles || Related Categories: Career Articles

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Internal ID: #4815
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