It's been difficult to write lately, as I didn't wish to be explaining... I yearned to express, but it wasn't happening. There was something that needed to complete and be directly experienced first.
Last night, I was watching what to me was an amazing video. It consolidated a concept I'd been thinking about myself. I kept wondering why some art was able to convey a transpersonal and direct transmission of the divine.
Sometimes I call that "black hole" art.
For instance, one day last September I was feeling pretty down and out. Even an art museum could not cheer me up. Room after room in a fog of color splotches. Yet the moment I entered the room with Van Gogh's Olive Trees in a Mountainous Landscape (with the Alpilles in the Background) all was right with the world again. It's a difficult thing to explain as it is experiential. Right now, looking at a photograph of the painting doesn't have that same knowing that takes one into that felt sense of Absolute. (I reckon it may be because the photographer resists going there.)
So, of late, I've been calling that "quality" as black hole art, as in:
Back in 2003, I was in Berkeley improving my Spanish at a local language school while vaguely hoping the tech economy would pick up again so I could get back to work. Although the truth beyond all the obvious is I was on a pretty hardcore spiritual journey ever since 2001 when the dot-com startup I was at (first employee after the founders, so I was very emotionally invested) imploded followed rather quickly by my divorce and other sundry personal disasters. When I went to the bookstore looking for a good Spanish-English dictionary, I wasn't quite expecting to find a book that would accelerate this 'journey.' But once I opened the book, I couldn't stop reading it. That book led me to an intense study of A Course in Miracles. I read the entire thousand-plus pages over a course of days (it may have taken a week or so, as it's not easy reading) sitting in that studio apartment. I probably ought to have been looking for work, but even then I guess I was starting to realize this is my work.
Since then, I have spent more time in my own sort of self-study into the nature of Reality and my own true nature that has taken me on many paths including Buddhism and Advaita, yet I have a lot of respect and appreciation for A Course in Miracles to this day, and also for Ken Wapnick whom I've studied in person several times at the Temecula classroom.
Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying that I have a thorough appreciation for ACIM and Ken, although I don't really even know where my big blue book is (I suppose it's in storage). The words in the book aren't the point anyhow.
The beautiful part of the video is when Ken shares his own personal journey on how he realized his psychotherapy grad school studies were coalescing with an understanding of why he was so drawn to music, and in particular some of Beethoven's later compositions.
Two aha! moments to pay attention to are when Ken shares how he wished to create a mood in the room, an environment in his therapy practice that was as palpably peaceful as he had experienced at a concert of Beethoven's music the evening before. (Ken was in grad school at the time, and said he couldn't pull it off.)
The other aha! is when Ken talks about the felt difference between Schubert and Beethoven's compositions he experienced. Listening to Schubert he could feel the sadness that he would not allow himself to go "there". This sadness I recognize now as the core of the Dark Night of the Soul. And the "there"?...
Plus it explains everything I've failed in past to convey in my art (akin to how Ken says he failed to establish a presence of peace in his early psychotherapy practice), and why I set aside everything--paid work that might have provided living wage, relationships, et al-- to go through this Dark Night of the Soul... and, actually to go "there"--all the way.
"Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him." - Carl Jung
p.s. A great interview with Jeff Foster on the Dark Night and the end of seeking (and, of course, the seeker as well).