The Emanations of Space
Emanations of Space – Flat Rock 2008
5.3" x 8" watercolor & colored pencil on paper
Space, in our "normal" state of consciousness, plays a very minor, subordinate role to objects and generally merits little or no attention in our awareness. We will see later, as we go deeper into states of awareness, that this role is totally reversed. In the study of emanations, space shows hints of standing on its own as a perceptual subject. The emanations of space are quite specific.
To enter into this very subtle level of perception beyond form, it can be helpful, at least at first, to become cognizant of the mood of a place. Mood can often be more accessible to our "normal" perception than the emanations of space, yet the beauty of mood is that it is already taking us beyond form and we are beginning to "see" in a different way. We have all felt the mood of a place, like when we say, "It sure feels cozy here."
The greatest landscape painters throughout history were those whose paintings capture the living mood of a place. But we are going to ask more of our perceptions and go to an even subtler level.
The mood of a place is dependent on form, on colors, textures, the effects of light, temperature, and many other variables. And for that reason, the mood is susceptible to change. For example, the mood of the space in a grove of tall cedars will vary greatly from the mood in the space beyond in the sunlit meadow. And if a dark, heavy cloud passes overhead the mood is drastically altered everywhere. Yet, keep in mind that what I call the emanations of space exist in their own right and are changeless.
Exercise 2 Step 1: To begin this exercise select an area—a corner of a room, the space between objects, or if you are out in nature, the space between some trees, or between hills or the shadowy space under a rock. Here again, the particular size of the area does not matter. Take a few moments to sense the particular mood of the space by allowing the body to become totally permeated by the energy of the space as if every cell of your body were matching and vibrating with the frequency of the mood. Again you are using the body as an organ of cognition. There is no strain in this perception; it’s not so much something you do as much as you just surrender into.
Before we move onto emanation, I would like to say that the next time you are in nature, become aware of the vast range of the moods in space as you pass through different areas on your walk. It will become as intriguing, if not more so, than the actual physical objects in the landscape. There is as much variety in the energy of space as there is variety in the emanations in the vast array of forms that surround you.
Step 2: Now see if you can go deeper in the subtlety of your perception and switch your focus from the mood of space to an energy that is changeless in space. Start with saying to yourself, as you look past form and on the mood of space, "What is not changing here," and be still and look. And then look some more... again... and again. These changeless emanations of space—this changeless life of space at first is so subtle that it eludes our awareness, yet, the truth is that we are actually already experiencing it. And as awareness of it grows, the life of space can become more substantial and real in our awareness than the forms that exist in space. It is also the beginning of a perception on a scale that will literally astound you, for there are no boundaries to this life of space.
I have found that focusing on emanations is also a good practice when something is disturbing my peace—when I feel confused, upset or overwhelmed. I simply become still and look at the emanation of some object near me, or more often, on the changeless energy of space. I then let the energy flow into me, healing my inner world.
Space - Quick Sketch Towards the Sangre de Christo Mountains 2007
4" x 5.5" graphite and colored pencil on paper
About the Paintings:
"Emanations of Space - Flat Rock," I painted the emanations in broad strokes of transparent color and in lines of various lengths and at different angles, implying different tensions and speeds.
Emanations of Space – Towards Sangre de Cristo Mountains 2007
30" x 41" mixed media on canvas
"Everything was bathed in a peace so thick upon the place that Tobe felt he could easily grab it out of the air and hold it in his hands. He marveled as he realized peace existed in the air! Yes, space, too, was alive in Inlăkesh! Before now, Tobe had thought that the only things living in space were the things which moved through it, like dragonflies, butterflies, and such things."
from Tobe and the River Is
End of Emanations of Objects Section