reflections on “the field on which i rise”

I’ve recently completed posting my folio the field on which i rise (16 works) on Instagram and have enjoyed the process. The images there are without much context. I’ve an urge to write a little about them, but have been wary of falling into the trap of over-describing, putting on museum labels that then reduce the enjoyment for both viewer and artist.

But, reflecting on this, I guess all visual art needs some descriptive context. Isn’t that what we do when we take into account who an artist is before deciding the value of the art? I can enter a poem into a poetry competition and it has to be anonymous (so as not to influence the judges), yet when I enter a work of visual art into a competition I’m asked to supply a cv.

So basically the context for “the field on which i rise” is that the field is my experience of raw, ever-present consciousness. More fascinating to me the more this takes centre stage! And, of course, this is the subject of all nondual teachings and practices.

This noumenal field is that from which the sense “i” arises. And once “i” arises, the whole shebang of self and other, the phenomenal, arises.

I’m not saying anything different from what scores of nondual teachers are saying – merely saying it in some little art works, that depict scapes, fires of consciousness, and heart centres.

(As an side, heart centres are one thing I find missing from many nondual teachings – consciousness for me is closer to the heart rather than the head.)

What’s the value of staying close to consciousness itself? Aldous Huxley was writing as far back as 1944 (in “The Perennial Philosophy”) that we “moderns” had taken a wrong turn by taking our focus off the perennial, off our own consciousness, to spread and lose ourselves in the thinking mind and its world. And a more recent example is by the writer / teacher Michael Singer, exploring how we can take a break from suffering by what he calls “relax and release” – continually bringing our mental centre of gravity back to consciousness itself (see his book “the untethered soul”).

To throw a spanner in the works, I also subscribe to Jung’s notion of the unconscious:

“Consciousness is one factor, but there is another factor, equally important, and that is the unconscious. That can interfere with consciousness anytime it pleases….. I must admit there is another somebody in my house that can play tricks.” (from the “Matter of Heart” film).

So let’s explore consciousness and make our home there (more often), but all the while never forgetting “we are not masters in our own house” (Jung).