Eddie Stern on the underpinnings of a spiritual search

It looks like Eddie Stern is back in New York, and he’s gotten a tour of a new art show that ends up providing all of us with two insights I think are well worth sharing.

First a quick bit of background: The artist is Francesco Clemente and the show is at Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea.

Here’s the first insight:

In every show he abandons his past approach, and uses new material to draw out the image – the image is brought forth from the material, and not the other way around, which I find fascinating, as it mirrors the underlying principles of a spiritual search; you don’t go for the finished product, you allow the body, breath and awareness to reveal consciousness, which sees its own image in the mirror of the mind.

There, in one sentence, is a wonderful summation of a spiritual journey. Perhaps it can help Bobbie and I as we try to start go deeper on ours.

Francesco Clemente, via ayny.org

The second one, well, I can’t help passing it on:

Francesco met us there, and gave us a tour of the show, which was of course a little unnerving because he just stands next to you in his Italian Mystical Silence and waits for you to either move on to the next painting or say something absolutely stupid because who the hell knows how to talk about art anyway?

OK, so, stay with me here, but if you replaced “Francesco” with “Eddie Stern” (preferably in a hushed whisper) and “Italian Mystical Silence” with “Ashtangi Enlightened Silence,” you would have something approaching the preconceived ideas of Eddie, right?

As always, Eddie’s humor undercuts those preconceived ideas, although his knowledge and commitment to Ashtanga also give them fertile ground in which to grow.

Another of Ashtanga’s many ironies, I’d wager.

Final thing: More reports from David Garrigues’ workshop at LilaBlog are up. The word that leaps out at me in what Frances writes is “research.” We’ve talked a lot about that here, much of it via Nancy Gilgoff’s experience with Guruji and the evolving practice.

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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