When we look at a painting, or hear some music, or read a poem, we need to be detached from it. If we are specifically interested in what is going on in it, like who painted it or composed it, when, how much it is worth, to which museum it belongs to, if it is new or old and so on, we cannot see the beauty of the piece of art. All those details stand between me and the beauty. In order to see the beauty, we have to look, or hear, or read, but be interested only in beauty.
We usually do not know how to look at art becasue we do everything so fast. We should look at art like if we are sitted on a sofa, in front of the piece of art and trying to make contact with it in silence. Of course we have a first impression, a first aesthetic impression, but the aesthetic impression is not necessarily the seeing of the beauty. The seeing of the beauty is much deeper. It has to truly reach the heart, and then a transforming process takes place.
We have to sit in front of the piece of art for a while and set aside what we know, what we already like or dislike. We have to be in a space of not-knowing, open to the unknown. It is like when we make a first contact with someone, we should ideally make that contact in silence, being open. We let all the feelings and the thoughts that are triggered by the encounter freely unfold in this silent moment, and then at the same time, there is a meeting. As we should forget everything we know about the person we are meeting, for a true encounter to happen, we need to forget everything we know about the piece of art. Forget the name of the painter or composer, its past history, what you like or dislike about it and even what the art should represent. Forget all that. Just seat in the sofa of your own silence, and look at the art, look at the totality of your experience in this moment. It has no inside, no outside, no frame, no borders. However, it has a title. The title is ‘now’. In this space, let the art lose itself in you and lose yourself in the art. And let go. Simple allow to let go…
Adapted by Carlos L Abbate from the book by Francis Lucille: The Perfume of Silence