Sunday, February 26, 2012

Letting go of Aesthetic Attachment

At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don't need someone to share it with or tell it to. When that happens — that letting go — you let go because you can.
- Toni Morrison, Tar Baby.

Many times in the past, my enjoyment of the beauty of the natural world, has been lessened by a nagging desire to paint it, or record it in some way, even where this is impracticable, for example while driving. This desire to record can stem from the good intention to share the experience with others, but it can also be a kind of attachment, a desire to hold on.

The realisation that you are the Self - the Self which is not different to the world - leads to a kind of detachment from the world and it's beauty. But this detachment is not a lazy neglect, nor a cold lack of love.

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi likens love to sap flowing in a tree: if, through attachment, the sap sticks to one part of the tree, the whole tree dies.

Attachment, even aesthetic attachment, is not love; it is a kind of possessiveness and stagnation.  Love and Beauty (which are really one and the same) must be flowing (current) if they are to produce enjoyment.

The Self is a state of Bliss so inseparable from Love and Beauty, that it has no need to possess them. What you are, you no longer desire.

Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded, 
But must be current, and the good thereof 
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss.
- John Milton, Comus

In modern usage, the word current means 'contemporary', but at the time of Milton, I suspect it meant 'flowing'.

I am Eternal Bliss and Awareness
I am Shiva, I am Shiva.
- Sri Shankaracharya, Tad Niskala, 8th century.


Mark said...

What a lovely post with great quotes. I am a artist and this thought has been with me for some time. I have recently realised that I often feel a little sad after I have finished a project and contribute this feeling to the fact that when we try and produce art we are trying to 'capture' God for a moment. The grasping can be tiring and the work can feel derivative. The finger that points to the moon.. Still the urge to record persists..

jeronimus said...

Thanks Mark.
I still find it quite hard not to try to record everything, and blogging is a big part of that.
I think you are spot on when you say we are trying to capture God - an impossible project.
I think the main thing is to try to produce art in a non-possessive way, and without a sense of doer-ship.
Best wishes for your artistic work.

Mark said...

Would be interested to hear your thoughts on that Jeronimus. How you go about writing a blog with shape and a point to it without that sence of doer-ship. I find this is possible from a freeform perspective, but, when creating something with a pre thought out structure it can feel like a struggle.
Is it simply a case of having faith that your article will write itself if you just stay in the zone with it, or more to it than that?
Maybe an idea for a blog post?

jeronimus said...

Hi Mark.
According to Yoga and Buddhist philosophy, the root of all thinking is the "I" thought, followed by the "my" thought. Remove these and you basically remove the source of thought.
You have raised a very important point - how to make something that is intelligible to others, without thinking.
I can't claim to be able to do it all the time, but I'm convinced it's possible to make things that make sense, and even to write, in a state of thoughtless awareness. It's not only sportspeople and painters that get "in the zone" to do their best work.
The writer Ray Bradbury said that he has a sign on his writing desk that says, 'DON"T THINK'.

Definitely a good subject for a post.

Mark said...

Going to get me one of those signs..