I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in. I just can’t do it anymore.

 

I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in.
I just can’t do it anymore.
– 
John Taylor Gatto

Bill Watterson - Calvin's lament
Shortly after I posted my seven questions for Leonardo I learned of the death of educator and writer John Taylor Gatto.  My questions for Leonardo were intended to shine a light on the way people with a passionate interest in the visual arts are often schooled to produce a production-line version of “fine art” that will succeed in the mainstream market, rather than dive deep into their own authentic creativity regardless of commercial outcomes.  But the wider educational field suffers from the same malaise, and Gatto wrote about it extensively.  So, what is the difference between schooling and educating, and why does it matter?  In what way is it relevant to this site – The Awakened Eye?

In the introduction to the website – art and the intimate unknowable – I wrote,
The Awakened Eye is the eye that perceives without labelling; we could also call it the innocent eye or the eye of beginner’s mind.  Simply put, “schooling” tends to be an exercise in labelling, defining and separating in the service of acquiring knowledge. In other words, it’s a form of training.  It has its uses, but seeing without shadows is not one of them.  On the other hand, education (the root, educare, means to ‘draw out’) will endeavour to help uncover and foster the student’s innate and unique genius.  John Taylor Gatto had a lot to say about schooling; he was outspoken and ruthless in his criticism of the state school system, and he was in a position to know what he was talking about.

Fifty years ago I was venting the same sentiments about my experience as a young teacher in the state school system in New Zealand.  I had started to have nightmares about the psychological harm my students might be experiencing in my classroom as a result of competition and comparison.  If I’d read Gatto’s 1991 confession in the New York Times – “I can’t teach this way any longer.  If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know.” – I’d have been hugely comforted to know I wasn’t the only one.

But I didn’t know about him then; he inhabited the mists of my future.  Life conspired instead to introduce me to the thoughts of Jiddu Krishnamurti, and the highlights of my teaching career occurred in the schools he founded worldwide.

… if we really love our children and are therefore deeply concerned about education, we will contrive from the very beginning to bring about an atmosphere which will encourage them to be free.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Please read the full (short) article here: the taming of innate genius

Related:
education for wholeness
the act of seeing
the art of learning


Cartoon by Bill Watterson,  the creative genius behind the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.

Calvin and Hobbes


 

investigating the mind through art

Hildy Maze is an artist who sees her practice as an exploration of the workings of the mind. We welcome her, with her contribution of images and reflections on her practice, to the artisans’ gallery.

 

The Awakened Eye: Hildy Maze - Cutting Through

 

[The paper]… Touched in any way there’s a response; a fingerprint, wrinkle, rip, drip or tear, which then becomes texture and language, traces of process and practice as echoes or footprints challenging our conditioned response to things worn, torn, old, wrinkled or ripped as good or bad, acceptable or not acceptable; challenging our dualistic way of seeing the world.

 

The Awakened Eye: Hildy Maze - Rumblings of Nostalgia

 

My work is driven by a curiosity into the investigation of mind thru art. None of us can avoid thoughts, but through awareness of our pitfalls, beauty, strengths and weaknesses we can open windows into the mind. The core of my contemplative art practice is to visually embody the blind spots as a result of our thoughts. I am interested in the study of how the mind works as a means of gaining insight, how we communicate, how we create identity through form, emotions and consciousness, and how we hide in that creation. Essentially this work is about all of us and the empty, clear and unconditional nature of mind we all have.  When we know the nature of our mind we will know the nature of our world.

– Hildy Maze

Images and text ©copyright Hildy Maze
http://hildymaze.com
https://www.facebook.com/hildy.mazestudio
https://theartstack.com/artist/hildy-maze


To read more, and view other examples of Hildy’s work,
please visit her page at the artisans’ gallery


artisans

artisans’ gallery

dharma art – the art of living artfully


From the bookshelf:

Chögyam Trungpa: True Perception - The Path of Dharma Art

True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art


 

at last I don’t know how to draw!

 

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Ce qui dit la pluie

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: Ce qui dit la pluie

 

This morning I read a beautiful expression of encounter with flow – or undivided awareness – in the activities of music-making and drawing. I’d like to share it with you. It reminded me of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s famous comment, as quoted by Henri Matisse:

At last I don’t know how to draw!

Unfortunately I can’t offer a sample of his music, or an example of the drawings, but here’s the ‘confession’ – from Dustin LindenSmith, one of the editors of the brilliant online Nonduality Highlights daily newsletter. It articulates to perfection the focus of this website and blog …

I had two quite glorious epiphanies this week while practicing two of my main passions: jazz tenor saxophone and drawing. In each case, I experienced several blissful moments of what behavioural neuropsychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow.

While playing a slow blues in B-flat with my Hammond B3 organ quartet, I felt the music come through me completely unhindered, without any of my own conscious psychological involvement. For three or four minutes, I became lost in physical time and space, just hearing the notes of my saxophone being played to me as if in a dream. Improvising jazz can be a terribly cerebral exercise when playing a complicated tune. But in this instance, I exercised no personal interference with the notes that were played; they just flowed naturally through me, without my control.

Later in the week, while sketching somewhat aimlessly, I realized that if I changed my hand position a certain way and then removed my brain’s focus from the motor control of my hand, I could just “see” the image I wanted to draw in my mind’s eye, and watch my whole arm move in harmony with what I was seeing. As long as I maintained my focus of awareness on the “seeing” instead of the “drawing,” the image I saw in my mind was exactly replicated in graphite on the page. But “I” didn’t “do” a thing to draw it. It just happened.

The common aspect of both of those experiences? I think I was just getting out of my own way. For several glorious minutes this week, I got completely out of my own way, and let life be lived as it always is, but without my own conditioning or desires or influences laid on top of the experience.

Dustin LindenSmith


The artisans whose work is featured in this site’s artisans’ gallery all speak – in varying ways – of their practice in these terms. They notice that their creativity depends on nothing so much as their absence.They speak of a mysterious immersion in their work to the point of personal disappearance; a nondual encounter where observer and observed, subject and object, cease to be nouns separated by time and space, and are replaced by creative, dynamic action – by seeing, drawing, painting, making…

Are you familiar with this ‘flow’ in your creative work, your passion – or in your life in general? How would you express your experience?


seeing/drawing as meditation

perceiving without naming

waking up to wonder


the process of perception is one of creation

Perception underpins all human behavior and helps interpret sensory information to make sense from the senseless. The brain, to create meaning where there is possibly none, processes perception from the unperceived and thought from the unthinkable. The process of perception is in fact one of creation. What we perceive is not what is out there or within. There is no inherent value in the incredibly complex patterns of light that fall onto our eyes, and yet we see coherent forms and motions that enable us to survive. Exploring the nature of perception can help us glimpse life beyond experiencer and experience, perceiver and perception.

Science and Nonduality website

This year’s Science and Nonduality Europe Conference is only 5 weeks away.
Hop over to the website and register now!

SAND_EU13

SAND13 EU – “The Science and Mystery of Perception”
Doorn, May 28th to June 3rd 2013.


Instead of saying, ‘An observer looks at an object’, we can more appropriately say, ‘Observation is going on, in an undivided movement involving those abstractions customarily called “the human being” and “the object he is looking at”.
David Bohm


The observer is the observed.
J Krishnamurti


There is no separate, inside self and no separate outside object, other or world. Rather, there is one seamless, intimate totality, always changing when viewed from the perspective of objects, never changing when viewed from the perspective of the totality.
Rupert Spira


art and consciousness

Chris Hebard from Stillness Speaks interviews ceramicist and nonduality writer Rupert Spira.

Where is beauty located?

A dialogue about art, consciousness, advaita and nonduality, this video is a must-see. I’ve been trying to upload it onto the blog for ages now – guess I’m seriously lacking some tech skills.

Never mind – you can hop over to Rupert’s website and watch it there, or visit Stillness Speaks and watch it – plus others – there.  And I’m sure Rupert  and Chris will enjoy your feedback …

Enjoy!