to see clearly is poetry


John Ruskin - Rough sketches of tree growth, pen and neutral tint.

John Ruskin: Rough sketches of tree growth, pen and neutral tint.


Let two persons go out for a walk; the one a good sketcher, the other having no taste of the kind.  Let them go down a green lane.  There will be a great difference in the scene as perceived by the two individuals.  The one will see a lane and trees; he will perceive the trees to be green, though he will think nothing about it; he will see that the sun shines, and that it has a cheerful effect; and that’s all!  But what will the sketcher see?  His eye is accustomed to search into the cause of beauty, and penetrate the minutest parts of loveliness.  He looks up, and observes how the showery and subdivided sunshine comes sprinkled down among the gleaming leaves overhead, till the air is filled with the emerald light.  He will see here and there a bough emerging from the veil of leaves, he will see the jewel brightness of the emerald moss and the variegated and fantastic lichens, white and blue, purple and red, all mellowed and mingled into a single garment of beauty.  Then come the cavernous trunks and the twisted roots that grasp with their snake-like coils at the steep bank, whose turfy slope is inlaid with flowers of a thousand dyes.  Is not this worth seeing?  Yet if you are not a sketcher you will pass along the green lane and when you come home again, have nothing to say or to think about it, but that you went down such and such a lane.

– John Ruskin

Quoted in The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton

Image © University of Oxford – Ashmolean Museum

John Ruskin at the artisans’ gallery

seeing without shadows

what we need is here

wild geese

Geese appear high over us,

pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,

as in love or sleep, holds

them to their way, clear

in the ancient faith: what we need

is here. And we pray, not

for new earth or heaven, but to be

quiet in heart, and in eye,

clear. What we need is here.

– Wendell Berry: The Wild Geese

Source: The Nonduality Highlights and Poetry Chaikana

Image: Alan Larus

art is a living thing

A Living Thing:
Entering the Gate of Art Practice

An art retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery with Mn. Hojin Kimmel, Dec 10 – 12


Art practice is a process, a living thing; it breathes with our breath. It moves with our movement. It is an act of love, a gift of life. The tool of creative expression is given to us to undo the web of knowing that is woven around our brain, mind, and heart. It is this web of conditioning that pressures us to yield to an expected result, to adhere to a blueprint of a projected life.

Zazen is what helps us to see this, helping us to quiet down and become secure enough to jump into ourselves without knowing where we will land and without the illusion of a safety net. We can explore, right here on the spot, the present.

In this retreat we’ll use drawing materials, words, and our body to directly experience ourselves in the world at this particular moment and then give expression to this experience. We’ll observe it thoroughly opening our senses and meticulously practicing to release our grasp on thinking about the experience, about art or the creative process, about the purpose or goal of our efforts, or about what others may think of our work.

Seeing things clearly for what they are—rather than what we want them to be or think about them—we may experience our inherent freedom and set things free to be what they truly are as well.

All levels of experience welcome and materials will be supplied.

Source – Zen Mountain Monastery website

zen arts

seeing without shadows

… and colour was god


Painting by Fritz Rauh


The earth was the heavens and the heavens the earth.  Everything was alive and bursting with colour and colour was god, not the god of man.  The hills became transparent, every rock and boulder was without weight, floating in colour and the distant hills were blue, the blue of all the seas and the sky of every clime.  The ripening rice fields were intense pink and green, a stretch of immediate attention.  And the road that crossed the valley was purple and white, so alive that it was one of the rays that raced across the sky.  You were of that light, burning, furious, exploding, without shadow, without root and word.  And as the sun went further down, every colour became more violent, more intense and you were completely lost, past all recalling.  It was an evening that had no memory.

– J Krishnamurti, Krishnamurti’s Notebook

Painting by Fritz Rauh

the act of seeing

awareness, meditation and creativity