THE AWAKENED EYE
is the eye that perceives without labeling;
we could also call it the innocent eye
or the eye of beginner’s mind
Many artists and artisans have found that the practice of drawing, and/or engagement in creative encounters in the visual arts can open the mind to another way of seeing, a way that transcends habitual dualistic assumptions. They may use different words to describe this transcendence, but all infer a relation ship with something inconceivably larger than their everyday experience, something referred to here as the intimate unknowable.
When consciousness is no longer divided into subject and object an inexplicable wholeness pervades and one’s actions flow seamlessly from and AS that completeness. Yet we have no language with which to speak of this seamlessness – even to use the phrase “art and the intimate unknowable” invites confusion, for within the encounter there is neither entity nor activity separate from the unknowable. Logically and experientially it is clearly meaningless to speak of ‘subject’ and ‘object’, and yet speak one must.
Throughout history there have been – and still are – many wise teachers who speak of this transcendence of duality as one’s original nature – an a-priori ‘beingness’ which we seem compelled to simultaneously seek and overlook. Their teachings are sometimes referred to as advaita, which means ‘one without a second’ – or more simply, nonduality. Regarded in this wider context the awakened eye is synonymous with the awakened I, and this topic forms the wider agenda of this blog.
This blog / website has been conceived as a place where ideas and teachings on this topic put forward by artists, educators, scientists, philosophers, sages and saints, can be accessed; a rich and varied smorgasbord of offerings. No claim that the visual arts have exclusive rights to either the ‘eye’ or the ‘I’ that awakens is being put forward – they simply happen to make up my personal creative milieu, the playground in which I so frequently encountered the mysterious merging and undertook a lifelong attempt to make sense of it. Writers, poets, athletes and performers are similarly familiar with this experience of merging, often referring to it as flow. Indeed it seems so common in human experience that it can hardly be seen as unusual. Why then, is it so elusive for most of us? Why does it vanish the minute it’s stalked?
As the site develops, I hope you find inspiration and encouragement here to support your inquiry, and that you realize that your awakened eye – your vast, open, non-dual natural knowingness – is here, this very moment, aware-ing these words and creating this world.
– miriam louisa simons
The site’s title offers a bow of respect and gratitude to Frederick Franck, a true Renaissance Man, and one of my most influential teachers.
Comments and suggestions for inclusions are welcome.
Please use the form on the contact page to get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.
Image: Claude Monet, Waterloo Bridge, detail
Claude Monet at the artisans’ gallery
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