(Prints size 76х76 cm, 127х127 cm)
Everyone has a unique ability to be aware of their own mental activity. Perhaps we are the only species on the planet capable of perceiving ourselves and the world directly, omitting evaluative filters of experience. Mindfulness is the key and a prerequisite for inner transformation. Even if you are not interested in spiritual practices, but occasionally visit a psychologist to treat your conflicts and traumas, you cannot do without it. The very division into mental health and spirituality is conditional. They are two parts of the same process and it is impossible to practice one effectively without the other. Whichever end you start from, you will inevitably run into the other. When Western scientists explored the early Buddhist texts, they ceased treating Buddhism as a religion. In its core is a simple and effective practice for developing and applying our unique ability. It gives us a chance to break free from the web of our nervous system.
The waterfall experience is usually the first thing we encounter when we start practicing meditation. This ancient metaphor is used to describe the processes that unfold in perception during the first attempts to look at its contents. Like a spring flood, capturing everything in its path, the stream of consciousness rushes too fast and it is very difficult to see anything in its muddy water. When we are carried away by some thought, our attention is immediately captured by a swift current. And if we started the practice with the expectations of bliss and peace, then we may decide that our thoughts are the problem. We begin to strain even more, trying to suppress them to the opposite result. Pushing them away from our consciousness creates the illusion of well-being. The stream has not vanished, it runs under the crust of ice, hidden from the gaze of the observer. There is no joy here, the body and face express rejection or apathy. Thoughts are an inseparable part of our psyche and they will not go anywhere. The more we resist, the more persistent they become.
Meditation should be free from any expectations. It will be what it will be: beauty and terror, but as Rilke wrote: no feeling is final. We train the skill when we notice our distraction. At first, this will happen too often, but, as in any other workout, this muscle will gradually develop. Over time, the stream of consciousness will slow down and become clearer. It will become more like a river. It is already possible to distinguish separate thoughts and feelings, and sometimes even what is hidden under. A lake with calm water will follow. We can clearly see its bottom and everything in the water column. However, these are just words. Behind them is something that is hard to convey - a different state, a different perception of the self and reality.