the duality of idea and reality

February 09, 2013  •  267 Comments

The following is a sketch from time spent with Alex, a student in my art with elders class. He is tough to capture, for he is constantly in a sleeping to wake state. Always moving. So the drawing is Alex made while he is dreaming, and the writing is from our talks in awakened spaces. Alex and I have a commonality. We both were in love with a Helen. He talks about her from time to time, sometimes joyful memories other times more mundane expressions such as 'she was always trying to tell me what to do'. Despite the memory, he always ends with a laugh and a smile. He enjoys reflecting, and I enjoy listening. It triggers my own thoughts with my Helen experience of one time, and sometimes I get the two confused. Its as if Alex is describing my experiences. Interestingly, Alex has the condition of Alzheimers. You see his Helen is still married to him, and visits time to time. She is lovely just as he describes her. But he is unaware that they are still together, and she is alive and well. He thinks the opposite. In his smile acting as a period at the end of a sentence, I sense her nature rests in his heart, and it brings joy to him to share it. It is a valid testimony to his deep love for her. My Helen of one time and I, have separated physically from one another. The conditions were not aligned, so like a flower growing from the mud, the timing of the seasons were not in harmony to produce a full blooming tree. But like Alex, I recognize the truest nature of the person that made themselves vulnerable to me for that period of time, and I to her, and there is a place for her to rest in my heart where I too can go back and reflect with not results of sadness, longing but with smiles and laughs. Paraphrasing the spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, he describes a person seeing a beautiful cloud in the sky, and feels sad when it is no longer there. But don't be sad, for the true nature of a cloud is always there, it only changes form. It may turn to rain, to hale, to snow. Despite its form, its true nature is always there. Alex triggers the beauty of these reflections everytime. thanks buddy.alex sketch, 8.5"x 11", color pencil on paper, 2013


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