I recently completed a painting of an eagle flying in a vast blue sky. I hung it next to another painting of mine depicting a group of doves in flight. Although the two works were exactly the same size and had similar subject matter they elicited two completely different experiences.
The doves painting entertained and captivated my attention through the action and beautiful shapes of the doves in flight. The blue sky remained merely a backdrop.
In the other painting the eagle caught my attention and drew me into the painting, but then my attention left the eagle to dwell in the vast blue nothingness of the sky. I experienced a deep sense of serenity.
It struck me that these two paintings symbolised different ways of being in the world. As with the doves painting our attention is occupied most often by things and the busy-ness of the world. This state does not allow much ‘open-blue-sky’ introspection.
The eagle flies on its own. It is a state of empowered aloneness. It is capable of flying at a higher altitude from where it has a broader, uninterrupted view of the world and thus clarity of vision. However, part of the eagle’s flight to reach a higher altitude is the experience of turbulence. This fosters skill.
To embrace the way of the eagle is to understand turbulence is not pathology, it is path. It has something to show us that smooth transit could never reveal. The feeling of disconnection/aloneness is not neurotic, it is intelligent. It has something to show us that togetherness could never reveal. It will disclose a new way of being free.
Finally, could it be that the intense turbulence of recent years, experienced both personally and globally, indicates humanity’s spiritual evolution through the fostering of the skills of the eagle?
Both paintings are for sale. Oil on canvas. 140 x 100cm. Price on request.
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