We live in a remarkably fast-paced society. Modern individuals move with a mechanical urgency that warms the world, yet, freezes our hearts from connection with reality. What are we all rushing towards? American author Ursula Le Guin laments: “the rationalist utopia is a power trip; as its premise is progress, not process, it has no habitable present, and speaks only in the future tense.” Our minds have taken control of our bodies, detaching them from the abundance present all around us.
As we focus and sprint towards future success, our eyes glaze over the beauty and bliss possible every. single. day. This has caused us to miss the endless opportunities around us, the unlimited abundance present in our lives at every. single. moment. If you are longing for a different reality--calmer, slower, more inter-connected--you can begin to access harmony, creativity, and joy by bringing your awareness to the world around you.
The question is, how do we create and cultivate this awareness?
First, take a moment to breathe in..................and out..................okay.
"True transformation is brought about by the two qualities inherent in concentration: attention, or focus, and intention, a clear vision of a desired outcome. Attention energizes and intention transforms.”
These days, the West seems to have become more and more interested in mindfulness practices of the East such as yoga, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral therapies. But some don’t yet realize that mindfulness is a misleading term. In “The Power of Now,” Eckhart Tolle explains how the journey to spiritual enlightenment actually involves letting go of our minds.
Our minds use specific tools such as calculation and judgement to create a specific view of the world. While these tools often influence our perception, we do not need to always identify with them. They can be put aside in exchange for other tools within us and around us to access the beauty of the present moment. Mindfulness is all about bringing awareness to the present moment by using breathing techniques, the senses and other conscious awareness tools.
Enter into the artist’s mode, for example. As demonstrated by our fall featured artist, E.T., the artist’s perception of reality is intrinsically attuned to the beauty of the present moment. Feeding on the fruits of inspiration, this artist spends her life absorbing all of the beautiful details that the world has to offer. She then brings awareness to the feelings and sensations evoked in order to translate her perception into a song, a poem, or a painting.
In describing her painting of the Haitian harbor town of Pestel, E.T. says, “Pestel is a mixture of colors, smells, memories, and emotions…so long ago but which remains so alive in me.” She is tuned into the cycle of attention and intention and her art becomes a conscious reminder for herself and others; an ever present inspiration to tune in. Once we open ourselves up to the ever-present energy and potential of the world, transformation, manifestation, and creation become possible.
This is how the artist transforms energy into art; they set aside mental tactics and enter a flow state, tuning in to the infinite abundance around them. The artist’s mode, or "poēsis," as German philosopher Martin Heidegger calls it, is all about love and surrender. It takes conscious attention and complete enthrallment in the current moment. It requires engaging all of your senses and humbly accepting life’s energy as it flows through you. Poēsis utilizes our unlimited creative freedom to gain knowledge and reveal truth. When we begin paying attention to the abundance all around us, we have accessed the power of now. When we shift our intentions from calculation to transformation, we have entered into the artist’s mode.
Prints like E.T.’s "Déjeuner chez Evelyn à Pestel” display what is possible when one is fully attentive to and truly fascinated by the world around them. But we do not need to become artists to cultivate awareness and flow. Collectable prints can serve as tangible reminders to tune into the abundance present in every moment, like an artist does. Whether we transform the energy we collect into art, love, or knowledge, accessing the artist’s mode can take us into the spiritual dimension modern individuals like us so desperately seek. The harmony, creativity, and joy we seek is just a conscious moment of awareness away. Consider collecting a reminder for yourself or a loved one this holiday season.
This is an Æra Hope x Antonia Stefanescu writing collaboration.
Quotes | Deepak Chopra 21 Day Meditation
Ursula K. Le Guin "A Non-Euclidean View of California as a Cold Place to Be" 1982
Martin Heidegger "Question Concerning Technology" 1977
E.T. "Déjeuner chez Evelyn à Pestel" 1998
Images | "Tree Of Industrial" photograph by Setsiri Silapasuwanchai
Remaining images are original photographs taken in Pestel, Haiti by N.