There is only one space
“Look in all experience for that which does not appear, move, change, evolve or disappear, and know yourself as that.” Rupert Spira35 years ago, on a meditation retreat I asked one of the monks, also an artist, how I might manage the anger I was battling with. He told me to imagine scribbling a vivid red mark on an infinite sheet of white paper.
Then he said, “The red mark is your anger” and after a pause “The paper is you.” My anger vanished, and I knew I’d come home to my true self. I still treasure that metaphor, especially the sense of being somehow infinite like the paper.
I’ve often considered how to reflect this experience in my painting process, and a new possibility came during ‘Paint Fit’ with a sudden urge to cover almost everything I painted with white.
I meditate daily and am exploring painting as a form of meditation in action. Working experimentally in layers using a variety of media in sketchbooks and on wooden panels I focus on present moment experience - thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, external sense perceptions - making drawn or painted marks as an intuitive, playful, abstracted response to, and record of, these passing phenomena and more recently paying as much or more attention to the white space of the substrate, adding or subtracting visual space, usually with white or sometimes a darker glaze - covering, veiling, revealing and so on.
Throughout this meditative process my aim is to notice and record this sensing of the aware ‘space’ (the infinite sheet of paper) between, for instance, a thought and a sensation or a sound and a feeling (the red mark of anger) as well as noting these fleeting appearances themselves within this limitless ‘space’ of infinite consciousness.