Highlights Magazine publishes brain teasing treasure hunts for children and has done so for many years. Finding the hidden sock or fork, turning the page sideways and upside down, discovering that what initially appears to be a chair leg might be something else altogether has always provided basic lessons in looking beyond the obvious.
Following clues in drama, both the obvious and the subtle, putting the pieces together with the help of characters like Sherlock Holmes; sleuths in any good “who done it” appeals to our natural sense of curiosity. It stimulates our inherent desire to understand the greater mysteries of life.
Learning to observe, without attaching assumptions is a valuable skill for the sleuth or the scientist or the artist or anyone wishing to truly see. Preconceived notions of what can or should be observed can otherwise shroud what is waiting to be seen.
Art as a skill is largely a process of patient observation and re-creating what one sees. One learns to look at the spaces around things, the negative spaces as part of the relationship with the objectified or positive spaces themselves. Great artists, like great musicians, have always had a foundational relationship with observation, stillness and the tension or balance between things. The most potent and memorable music and art allows the viewer to share the artist’s subtle observations as an enhancement to the emotional drama of the piece.
I learned from my own training in drawing and later in painting that it is crucial to see in mental silence, without the descriptive narration of the busy brain. That lesson had been largely lost on me however. I sought out the background noise of mindless distractions like television, sabotaging the quality of receptiveness to my own inner voice. When I painted according to the whims or impatience of my mind, I would settle for the wrong color or shortcut some necessary technique and the image being created would suffer for it. Seeing requires observation. Observation requires disciplined, patient mental silence.
The process of creating art or music that truly expresses the soul of the artist is dependent upon the courage of the artist to listen to her or his own inner voice and the inspiration from the greater God-consciousness, unimpeded by any distraction that drowns out the inspiration and intuition that nurtures one’s true inner muse. To surrender to distraction, one runs the risk of sabotaging one’s own potentials.
Intuition is a keen inner observer. It plays a huge role in discerning and following subtle clues and insights. It recognizes a kinship with the “esoteric”, or “hidden” within and that which is “veiled” by symbols. But intuition and discernment must be differentiated from the impatient monkey brain and that takes a good deal of training and discipline. The practice of following intuitive hunches in everyday life, to see where they would lead, teaches the observer to feel and discern the difference between an intuitive lead, and a distraction of the mind.
Mental distractions that lead one away from intuition and avoid discernment are often masks for issues that must be addressed in contemplation, prayerful conscious awareness and meditation. Often times, the artist or observer must delve deep within his or her own shadows, using the art or music or landscape of reality itself as the matrix of self-exploration, in order to understand and quiet the mind and hear the inner voice.
If prayer is defined as talking to the consciousness of God, meditation is the open stillness awaiting the reply. Meditation is all about quieting the mind, listening…observing and receiving. It is a valuable tool in recognizing your own inner voice and intuition. Because I’m not a particularly skilled meditator myself, I find that living in open conversation with God consciousness opens the two way flow of information. It’s difficult to remember when caught up by distractions that that conversation is a relationship that is happening at all times, whether we are aware of it or not. Maintaining an awareness of that constant relationship is in itself, a touchstone for consciousness.
As surely as both the intuitively inspired and the uninspired musician or artist are in the process of creation, so too the conversation with God consciousness is actively creating whether our participation is intuitively inspired or not. The quality of the creation reflects the consciousness of the conversation.
Noticing synchronicity enhances the awareness of the ongoing flow of the conversation. Synchronicities cannot be sought out. They simply exist and await our attention. For example, when you are riding on a freeway or busy street, there might be four or five red cars in proximity to each other and none beyond them for some distance. Later you might notice a cluster of white vehicles or grey. One afternoon, I stopped for the light at an intersection at precisely 3:33 and looked up at the address on the nearby building…333. You might notice many double or triple numbers during your day. Many of us are familiar with the phenomenon of 11:11s. These are all part of the conversation of consciousness.
Our intuitive voices are too often drowned out by the mental chatter of daily life. So too is our awareness of our unconscious mind which is a constant participant in the conversational relationship.
Our unconscious thoughts are always at work, carrying out what our conscious minds entertain. We don’t have to order our bodies to breathe or pump blood through our veins, yet we do unconsciously give our bodies instructions all of the time. On an emotional level, unconsciously going about one’s day thinking petty, cruel, vengeful or angry thoughts is like ordering from a menu that the unconscious mind will dutifully draw into reality. How often do we observe our attitudes or our moods leading the events of our day?
Placebos work because our unconscious self has been instructed by conscious conviction to believe that the substance we think we are receiving is doing the work. The actual work is in our belief and the emotional energy that supports it. The placebo teaches us about the power of the conversation and our conscious and unconscious ability not only to heal our bodies, but how to create our own reality.
Symbols, and symbolic patterns and symbolic behaviors, even the more subtle or hidden ones work the same way in that our unconscious minds are always processing our words and our perceptions as instructions to define, accept, or create reality.
We can see the symbols that tell the deeper truth and respond to them subconsciously. We even draw them forth from our own subconscious minds. But without a prayerful and meditative state, without both intuition and discernment, we cannot fully comprehend their effect upon our lives.
Words too are symbols and they carry the potential of the power invested in them. Our words and our thoughts, spoken or unspoken give energy to what we create. We do well to be conscious of the formation of our thoughts that they serve to calmly discern the truth and thereby the appropriate intention within each moment of creation.
The following blogs are about observing the conversational relationship between pattern and symbol, between the obvious meaning and the more esoteric or hidden meaning so accessible to our unconscious minds. We must assume nothing. Whatever we thought we knew will be seen with new eyes. We can take nothing for granted. There is significance, power and healing in what has always been lovingly veiled from our sight. There is wisdom to be gained from understanding the hidden, the esoteric and the mysterious that surrounds us all of the time. This investigation is about unveiling unconscious knowledge within pattern and symbol and coming to recognize that these patterns are repeated across multiple if not infinite levels of scale.
We can learn, through observation, intuition and discernment, to recognize, feel or otherwise sense the resonance between patterns on different levels of scale as coherent echoes within a conscious creation.
We are the observers, the artist, sleuths, constantly looking past the obvious and accepted reality to see…really see with a discerning and intuitive courage that calls us to know ourselves and our relationship with the greater consciousness of Creation.