Peacebuilding as Awakening to the Consciousness Embedded in Nature: Art as a Practice of Embodiment
The title of this blog reflection, “Peacebuilding as Awakening to the Consciousness Embedded in Nature,” is a manifesto to a reality that we often forget; we live in a universe where everything, every being, is an expression, a voice, of a universal consciousness. This painting evokes nature communicating, claiming, and dialoguing. Gaia, the Mother Earth, is a living body, a living organism, interacting endlessly with us. Also this painting is an inner effort to claim what has been so difficult for me to grasp during my life time; that everything is alive. Through this piece of art I give expression to what nature is constantly asserting about herself. It is a joyful experience of embodiment through art. It is the exercise of putting aside my ego for a while; as Suzi Gablik says, inspired by Jos. A. Smith, “Enjoyment of art happens when the ego-personality is temporarily displaced, the mind experiences another world from the everyday world, where inside is not separated from outside and a spontaneous experiences of presences that don’t belong to the ordinary world seems to occur” (Suzi Gablik, 48).
When our egoistic minds become the rulers of our existence, we live in an illusion, split from Nature. In this context, the exercise of art becomes a very fearful practice, the one of putting aside our egoistic projects and false conceptions. We don’t know where to stand anymore, it looks like an empty lifeless vacuum, a black hole trying to absorb and eliminate us. As John Paul Lederach says, “We have to live at the edge of what is and to bring into existence something that does not exist” (personal interview, Peacebuilding Skills). Amazingly it is at the edge of what is that we find our real identity. There we are rooted in the whole universe itself. Now there is not separation, there is neither inside nor outside, everything is one. Everything becomes art, everything is peace. Because art happens in the Eternal Now. Embodiment happens in the Eternal Now. Conscious art happens when we awake to our real identity, to the Eternal I AM as the ground of our being.
Now everything becomes alive, nature talks, the sea, the birds; even astonishing events like earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis; all of them communicate a conscious and intelligent message. In art everything belongs, all that exist becomes an expression of the universal mind, a loving consciousness that permeates everything.
There is no real and efficient peacebuilding without the realization of this truth. It is the awakening to nature’s voice. It is the eternal “Yes” to all that exists. This inner drive is the first tool in peacebuiding. Reconciliation with everything is the foundation to any real and sustainable peace.
It is the loving personal presence, the quality of our presence, what in the end matters: to be present and to allow nature to be lovingly present to us. Then, mutual healing happens. Then emerges a new “mystique of the land,” a contribution in building an new ecological role model into our cultural consciousness. As Thomas Berry claims, since re-enchantment with the earth is the necessary condition for its rescue from the impending destruction we are imposing on it. (Suzi Gablik, 93-4) Re-enchantment with the earth is to discover her as being one body with us; it is to unveil the eternal peaceful artistic expression that happens when we embody who we really are.
Gablik, S. (1991). The Reenchantment of Art. New York: Thames and Hudson.
-edited by Bethany