"Look up in the sky," says Eckhart Tolle in my reading this morning from A New Earth. "What do you see? Objects floating in space. So what does the universe consist of? Objects and space."
"The twofold reality of the universe (he goes on to say), which consists of things and space -- thingness and no-thingness -- is also your own. A sane, balanced and fruitful human life is a dance between the two dimensions that make up reality: form and space."
The two things that make up any work of art, therefore, must also be form and space. So if I look at that objectively, and look at my art objectively as well, then I can see that my preference is for space. The balance in my pictures tends almost always to be a little tipped toward space.
So you would think that means I'm a sort of peaceful person, right?
I'm in a play this weekend, just a reading, at the library; it's Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July, and I'm thrilled to be in it, having seen it on Broadway almost 30 years ago with Christopher Reeve and Swoosie Kurtz. And there's a line in the play I'm sure the audience won't really catch (I'm not sure the other cast members do) where one character says to another about a third character, "He looks fine," and the other character responds, "Isn't it amazing? Somewhere there's a portrait of him that's really going to hell."
She's referring to Oscar Wilde's novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which a man's portrait mirrors the slow degradation of his soul. And I thought of that this morning when -- having just read Tolle's statement, "Nonresistance, nonjudgment, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living," I got a telemarketing call on my cellphone. As soon as the guy started talking I yelled at him, saying, "Who do you think you are, calling me on my cellphone?" and then hung up on him.
My husband was taken aback. "There's no need to be rude," he said, "just ask to be taken off his list... you get so engaged in these things, and you're still steaming afterwards. You need to just let it go."
Yup. I may do all the reading. But he's the enlightened one. My pictures depict, not the serene soul I am, but the serenity I long for.
Sigh. I've still got a LONG way to go to enlightenment.