Yes, if we think about it, even from a materialistic point of view: the world exists, and we exist.
Therefore existence is common both to what we are, and what the world is.
So, beyond the appearance of the world and our self, underlying these two appearances, existence is… We share existence!
So, even from a materialistic point of view, there is a profound connection underneath the way things appear to be –the self, and the world– there is an interconnection between these two seemingly separate realms.
And the experience of beauty is the… intuition… or the taste of that interconnection.
And very often the… awe… In the experience of awe, the mind comes to an end; the mind is struck, the mind is silenced.
Ah… We say… ehm… “It blew me away!” meaning: it blew my mind away.
That’s what Nirvana means; it means “blown out”, or “extinguished”.
In that moment, the mind was extinguished; the mind collapsed.
And the underlying, our shared existence was tasted.
That is the experience of beauty.
And it strikes the mind; it brings the mind to an end.
And when the mind returns again, it… it…. it notices that it has been struck, and it says, “I was in awe!”
It means, “I was brought to an end, by the exp… I was brought to an end by the experience of beauty.”
It feels like I’m merging… Right…
It’s a merging of two things that seem to be separate. It’s not really a merging, because in fact they were never separate to begin with…
… but from the point of view of the one who considered himself or herself separate, we feel we merge with nature, or we merge with our friend in love, or we merge in nature with beauty, it is a collapse of the “self and other” or the “self and object”.
Where you… you know it again, you know it…
… as the same as you.
Yeah. I’ve had it in different situations… Ahm… So I’ve had it with a tree [audibly smiling] so to speak…
… you know; where I stood long enough before that tree, with my attention completely given to that tree, and then there just was a moment… where there’s just a complete shift, you could say, of how I was experiencing that reality; that package that I call “the tree”, was a completely living being…
… with energy streaming out of it… In a way that was like, completely alive; it just… It overwhelmed me, …
… you know, to feel that.
Yeah. And then even with an inanimate object I’ve had it…
Well, that was… Absolutely! I was going to say, with objects, certain objects, or certain buildings… works of art, the true works of art…
… that have this power, within them, to dissolve the subject-object relationship.
So that’s what really, in my view, a work of art… or what we could call a particular category of a work of art called sacred art… Is art that… and it could be a piece of music, or a bowl, or a building, or a painting… An object that has the capacity to effect this dissolution of the subject-object relationship. And such an object can be tremendously powerful.
M-hm. Yeah. Surprisingly so, sometimes.
Yes. And that’s why we have art in our culture; that’s why we love art, because of this recognition that an object –be the object a three-dimensional form or a building or a painting or a piece of music– it has this power, this capacity to dissolve the sense of separation, to collapse the subject-object relationship…
… and that collapse is what we call… beauty.
Right. Yeah. I… I found myself in a museum once, in front of a painting that really a lot of people didn’t… had trouble, kind of, I think, appreciating as a painting? It was, you know, just a rectangular canvas that was… red. You know. That’s it. It was just red. And I stood there for a long time with it, ’cause I was really curious about it, and… it was fascinating that at a certain point, it’s like the whole thing just shifted, and it was…
… it became this incredibly beautiful… potent… deep…
… vibrating thing; and the docent came around and I told her that was my favorite, and she said, “Wow… Most people don’t like that one…”
Because it didn’t look like anything.
But it… So it’s really… us –right?– that allows things to take on, or that accepts that opportunity to connect, or to… ahm…
Yes, there has to be a sensitivity, a receptivity…
… to discover what’s there to be experienced beyond the label that’s on the outside.
Yes. Yes. I remember at one of my very early exhibitions, it was a private view and, lots of people milling around and talking, but I noticed that one young man was standing with his back to… just looking at a piece, and, while everybody else was moving and talking, you know, at private views, he just stayed there without moving, and he caught my attention. So after my twenty minutes, I made my way up to him and I went to say… and he turned around, and he had tears running down his face; and he just smiled and walked away; I never… we never had any conversation. But I remember it; I mean, I’m telling a story now, I remember this was in my twenties, this was over thirty years ago, but I remember it; he was… It was one of The most… It was one of the most complimentary… silent compliments that I ever received.
Because I… I… I could feel what was taking place… or what was taking place between him and the object.
Hm. M-hm. So it seems in way that’s just another almost doorway back to the “being aware of being aware”.
Absolutely. It’s Rupa Yoga, the Path of Form; the third path, the path of perception.
The Path of Knowledge…
the Path of Love…
and the Path of Form, or Beauty.
Absolutely. The way of the artist.
Rupert Spira transcribed by Leon Hieros