One Year Art Meditation

Something really extraordinary happened over the last year when we moved to the forest. We packed up all of our belongings, down to the barest essentials, and moved into the forest hills around Fairfax. Earlier during the pandemic my partner just said to me one night over dinner, we have the ability for you to focus on art for a year, why don’t you just try, so I did, I still took on assignments here and there, worked at coffee shops off and on, generally following the traditional roles as an independent artist. But long periods of studying meditation when the anxiety started to develop while I was in school started being brought into the foreground. I had originally wanted to try studying at a Buddhist Monastery, I begged my teacher for a work-study program and was denied, and was finally accepted at the San Francisco Zen Center. I moved in for one night and left after there was a series of commotions and increased traffic outside the room I was in. But the moments I spent inside the Zen Temple were magical. No one was around in the covid wing of the building, relegated to a two-week quarantine. It was right next to the main meditation hall, vacant from the height of the covid pandemic denying visitors. I went in one morning before I left and walked alone through the hall, just feeling its presence and openness. Everything was still and quiet, an enveloping warmth in the morning light.

Let’s go to four months later. We were in a small apartment in the forest hills of Fairfax, a town outside San Rafael, not quite rural but not quite urban either, barely a suburb. It was here I just said to myself, let’s try this now, I decided to work on two central concerns: my art and climate activism. I joined a small committee, eventually becoming vice chair, and I wanted to do what I had set out to do when I had earlier in the pandemic dedicated myself to studying zen. I wanted to ask myself what hate was, and how I could understand it. After a long year, of fighting constant threats and harassment, I finally saw just what that looked like. I saw the tormented emotion and defeated it, it was something I didn’t expect, and it came from the fact that my art, I realized, was meditation. While each painting was tried to be stolen for personal gain, I now see each step as a constant motion of progress towards a realization I would never have thought to enact from any direction or guideline, there was nothing like this experience. From painting to painting, each step kept motioning toward aspects of different emotions, if you look through all the work I made in the last year, it’s an epic story, one that would be impossible to film and impossible to write, it’s a combination of so many forms. It’s one story, it’s all an epic poem tied together, and then I realized what I had been facing all along, an ineffable face I had made as an image of torture from the years of harassment, it was almost a force made by some kind of spirit that was created to describe what I saw in the unified face of those who have been assaulting me. I finally saw it clear in its form in a final rendering, and I realized something, my own agency, so I took a look and modified it. Simple. It was over.

So what did I find? I don’t understand hate, but it feels like a carried trauma, yet in my process, which I could almost describe as mysticism because there were physical things that happened during this time, it feels like a lie. Hate is the lie of separation. Truth is the unity that binds all things, and our freedom is the opportunity to choose, and that’s where the truth exists. I posted a video message when I finally saw it for what it was. It may seem like another tik-tok, but I may not post anymore. It’s the final chapter of a long multimedia epic poem, it’s all there if anyone ever wants to see it. If you want to look at my work it is one story, one central story of love. It’s undeniable. Every moment in the forest was worth it. I am overcome with joy just thinking about it, it’s everything I ever wanted to do as an artist, so much so that I may never make art again. I can’t believe this. Yet there was more to other aspects, of the It’s the journey of my soul through time. This is the story of my spirit, so misunderstood that I could finally say it very simply, and that’s just it. And I now know it for a fact. I see it completely. Everything is in there, in all of its forms. It makes no sense to write this down,

Last night at the Committee meeting I was late and I finally signed on after receiving several phone calls from the mayor, I jumped online and logged in and did my job for the meeting, keeping time. I found a stopwatch counter online and launched the site, and then I saw it. I saw time defeat the concept of time. For every single moment that has been used as a system of division and hate, I saw the clock for what it was, yes there were seconds and minutes, but there was also a clock of infinitely fast number combinations in all forms that reset and started again every second. Want to use time against each other? The stopwatch defeated the lie. Time resets every second in the numeral system, moving so fast that it becomes a simple motion for which numbers are just abstract units that are not necessarily important. That’s all it is.

But what did I learn? Wow, the soul is like an ocean. It is the deepest space and brightest coral reef, it’s as light as wind and as heavy as a mountain. And we all, every single one of us has it, and hate denies the truth of what’s there. Hate is a Lie. Love is truth. And that may be what I was most upset about. Love each other, everyone, love each other, that’s the truth of our realities. I can’t write all this down in a way that is concise, but today I feel, for the first time, Like I completed my goals in art, I may make more as time goes on, but I know who I am, I know what the truth is, and I know what love is, and for anyone who still has hate, I urge you to one day, look at all of my art and imagine it as the journey of a spirit for someone you may have never met, you’ll find so much there, and for now, I’m headed into other things, new worlds, new assignments, with a renewed love for life, and deep joy, and no one, absolutely no individual, can take that from me, because you know what? It belongs to everyone.

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