Art and the transcendent through the eyes of an artist
As an artist I am very grateful for my artistic talent, but I did not realize how precious this gift was until after learning the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program. This is when its value and purpose became clear.
During Transcendental Meditation the mind and body settle down to quieter levels of activity. The thinking process becomes more refined and subtle until the mind actually goes beyond, or transcends the thinking process altogether. One is then left in a place of pure Being—the transcendent.
In my daily meditations, I have transcended many times. The benefits I experience afterward include being more refreshed and having a greater sense of happiness. Transcending, for me, is like taking a bullet train to the transcendent—I am traveling so fast that I don’t see the landscape speeding by, but only know I’ve been there and back by how rested and refreshed I feel afterward.
One day, I took my transcending train as usual, but, to continue my analogy, instead of going the speed of light, I found I was only going 10 miles an hour. My mind was still settling down to the inner silent transcendent, pure Being, but the process was so slow that it allowed me to clearly perceive subtle levels of consciousness. For an artist this was beyond anything I could have imagined, had ever seen, or thought to see. This was awake perceptioninto and within the silence of the transcendent.
Over the years these experiences have become even more precious and dear. I finally felt compelled to try to recreate these inner images in the form of watercolors paintings. Art, for me, is the most effective tool for recreating and expressing these experiences, so I began painting. But it was through the process of painting that I found another gift awaited me: while in the act of painting with my eyes open, I began to see and experience the same deep level of transcendental consciousness in everything around me. This was the same deep transcendental consciousness I experience duringmy TM program. It was glorious—I was dancing with the transcendent.
Art is a step from nature toward the infinite — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the TM program
The experience was that pure Being, the field of infinite intelligence and creativity within myself and the entire universe, was conducting the painting process, unveiling the subject matter and even letting me know when the picture was “right”. WhenI look at my art and feel the same inner, transcendental experience again, then I know the painting is finished. This self-referral process has become a powerful means of helping to permanently establish the transcendent in my awareness.
What you see, you become. — From an ancientAyurvedic text
When a person looks at any art, they become what they see. If the transcendent happens to be lively in the art work, then the viewer has the chance to experience lively transcendental consciousness just by looking at the art, of course, to whatever degree their mind and body allows.
A more concrete example of this principle deals with a tuning fork. When a tuning fork is struck and vibrates near a second tuning fork of the same tone, it will start the second tuning fork resonating. Vibration in one creates the same vibration in the other. This is called resonance. In the case of a piece of art that has a lively expressed quality of Being, the process of resonance gives the viewer the opportunity to resonate with the transcendent spontaneously. The viewer’s consciousness resonates with the consciousness of the artist by way of the piece of art.
When art, music, architecture, and so on are lively with the transcendent, we naturally treasure and want to surround ourselves with it. We are drawn to it not only because it is artistically good, but because the lively transcendent expressing itself through the art spontaneously draws us to experience true nature, the infinite.
Art can be a way to heal the mind and body on many levels by giving one a feeling of serenity, inner happiness and renewal. Go ahead—surround yourself with art that brings you transcendental bliss.