A great place where I find “nothing” is dance, Group Ecstatic Dance to be precise. Again, like with painting, there are no words in the dance so there are no misunderstandings, things are what they are and unless you’re blinded by your own desires, there’s only the movement within the rhythm. It’s not a given but the “presence of nothing” can be experienced in this environment if you know how to open the door.
There is a point in the dance where you reach a barrier when your body gets tired/numb and you can’t keep up with the escalating tempo/intensity of the rhythm. This barrier I’ve come to find is proportionally equal to your “thinking limit” where your own: “…look how cool I am!” or “I’m not good enough for so and so…” crap reaches a limit and it makes your body tired so you have to slow down or altogether stop dancing to catch your breath.
However, this barrier only exists as long as you continue to let your mind think. As soon as you stop trying to be/look cool or keep up/try to push through whatever you may be fighting within your own mind/emotions and simply pause your thinking by allowing your body to relax and do what it wants to do (which, believe it or not, it really is just to have fun! ;) then the barrier disintegrates and suddenly you have all the energy (and body pliability) that you could ever want! I’m serious, this surge of energy is epic, you could go on and on for days riding on this wave. I’m convinced this must have been the doorway that Native Americans found in order to be able to dance for days straight in ceremonies such as the Sun Dance.
So what I’m talking about here is mindfulness, meditation if you will, in this case moving meditation; to quiet the mind so that you can feel the presence of space itself… nothing, the silence in between the notes… yet I’m also talking about a transmission of a different type of information and energy, one that I see as the vehicle to the future of our species.
Everyday, as I look at the world, I keep seeing a growing uncertainty as if people are loosing the floor on which they stand and are desperately trying to define what is real and what isn’t but the way they’re going about it by fighting with each other for validation is not yielding the results they seek. To the contrary, it is creating more and more unrest, it’s almost as if they can’t see that the more they keep arguing about all of these issues (yeah the big ugly stuff you see everywhere these days) —the more they keep arguing about who’s right and who’s wrong, the more each party digs their heels into the ground to make a stand but this is precisely what’s deterring them from reaching a consensus.
I don’t have anything against healthy debate and I’m all up for self expression and speaking one’s truth; however, now it’s becoming less and less about freedom of speech and more and more about trying to pin down a homogeneous definite reality and no matter how much people try to fit the square peg in the round hole, life just isn’t fitting within humanity’s constructs anymore. So no, I don’t believe here lies the answer, not anymore.
I believe that as a culture we’ve reached the equivalent of the dance barrier and nature is testing our ability to adapt to a different way of perceiving reality, one that demands we grow up and let go of the outdated binary thinking process like a child letting go of her toys of “I’ll do this to get that” or “If you do that for me then I’ll do that for you” and wake up to the fact that all there is, all there’s ever been is an endless underlying fabric of nothing which includes everything, even culture itself.
When your focus is on nothing, everything makes sense, there is no longer a struggle to reach anywhere, because you’re already where you wanted to be, you realize that this “nothing” is really everything and from this place you can actually go “somewhere” (read: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing). This I believe is the floor we’re desperately seeking and ironically it has always been right here, but what we now need is a new set of eyes because, in Einstein’s words:
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
So I am now convinced that the solutions to the problems of our time are neither socioeconomic, political/military or even scientific, but spiritual (not religious) and I believe that the breakthrough for humanity is realizing the nature of nothing —the same “nothing” that saved my life through painting (read: How Creativity Saved My Life), the same nothing which I now see in everything.
This is why I’m starting a new art project —to bring awareness onto this concept— it’s a continuation of what I’ve already been doing but I’m expanding it to encompass other types of media, format and reach. It’s an Online Art Installation consisting of everything I can come up with pointing towards nothing and I mean “pointing towards” because obviously “nothing” can’t be explained, illustrated or communicated; it can only be alluded to in an indirect fashion, implied in a roundabout manner, suggested.
The project is called “Observing the Intangible” and you will see it here at epiphanio.com and throughout many social media outlets this year. I hope you’ll enjoy it and it inspires you to pause for a moment and just feel the presence of nothing.
For now I leave you with this video of the great Alan Watts explaining how it takes nothing to have something. :)
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Check out some of my Artwork. Click on any thumbnail to see the gallery for each painting, full size resolution and zoom detail.