Tibetan Monks & July 4th

The monks making music and chantingSaturday found me driving to the Mable Dodge Luhan house for the first time–something definitely on my “list.” The enticement was the opening ceremony for the creation of a sacred sand mandala by a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks. This would take them a week. I returned yesterday, the 4th of July, to see how things had progressed on day 2.

The first time I ever learned there was such a thing, and actually saw it done, was back in the 60s in San Francisco at an art museum. I was in my mid-20s and this was just another footnote in my Okie-moves-to-Bay Area education. Still, when I recall this memory it seems clear and vivid. I see now that it was a mirror, showing me something deep in myself.

This past week I started working on a painting that is, in form, similar. It’s called a yantra, and the source is Tibetan Buddhism of the Tantric persuasion. This will be my third painting in this series, and significantly my first begun since I moved to Taos two months ago.

These Yantra paintings of mine, of course, take liberties with the basic form, but my intentions are loosely comparable–to mirror the sacred aspect of nature, of earthly life. Of course I had no idea the monks were coming when I started the painting but I see it as synchronous.

So both days I’ve been to the ceremonial space I’ve pondered the contrast between the youth I once was and the elder I am now. I can see I respond to the sacred art and the energetic field of the monks in the same way, and yet now I just want to sit and be one with it. As opposed to “looking,” I see that I “am it,” as each of us is. Instead of seeing the monks as interesting and exotic (they are that!). I feel especially “at home” in that room. I will be going back as many times as I can.

This pair of ravens showed up while I was photographing the Mable Dodge Luhan house and grounds (future blog?). Just so happens I’m also working on another painting series, called “Two Ravens.” Maybe they were reminding me to get back to those landscapes I love so much or just welcoming me to my new Taos life. Either way you gotta love it!