figure-ground reversal

Total Eclipse of Internal Interference

Total Eclipse of Internal Interference

The real magic happens when we become intimately familiar with the moment-by-moment experience of being alive. Instead of trying to force complete experiences to happen. I focus on setting the stage for them to happen by exercising my attention. 

When remembering to notice that we're alive becomes a habit, we begin to erode the internal friction that obscures our view of the richness we're swimming in every day.

The Transparency of Existence

The Transparency of Existence

"In this mode of consciousness, the most supremely banal transforms into the most supremely baffling and awe-inducing. That which is most obvious and taken for granted is simultaneously that which is most mysterious and astonishing."

~ Brian Maniscalco

How the Earth Sees Us

How the Earth Sees Us

How can we ever know the difference we make to the soul of the earth? Where the infinite stillness of the earth meets the passion of the human eye, invisible depths strain towards the mirror of the name.

In the word, the earth breaks silence. It has waited a long time for the word. Concealed beneath familiarity and silence, the earth holds back and it never occurs to us to wonder how the earth sees us. Is it not possible that a place could have huge affection for those who dwell there?

~ John O'Donohue

Unselfed and Decentered by Beauty

Unselfed and Decentered by Beauty

"There are lots of things in the world that give us acute pleasure. There are also lots of things in the world that make us feel marginal. But there's almost nothing other than beauty that does those two things simultaneously, that gives us acute pleasure at the very moment that it makes us feel marginal and happy to be on the margins, to stand back, to listen to the piece of music and just feel awe at what has been created."

~ Elaine Scarry

Embracing Limitations

"We must first become limited in order to become limitless...Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves and to collectively transform our world." 

~ Phil Hansen, from "Embrace the Shake," TED Talks, May 2013   

Philinthecircle's YouTube Channel

An Instant's Recognition

"Paper on paper" (aka "Origamis") series, Marc Fichou

"Thinking is of immense importance, and we might have a better world if we all learned how to think. But at the same time, thinking may only be the prelude to meaning. We read, take classes, converse, study, and perhaps write.  These intellectual activities are priceless, but their value may be to prepare us for an instant's recognition of the vital seed, what the ancients called the scintilla, the spark, that gives life to everything we do and see.  Once we glimpse that spark, we will have learned that there is indeed a beyond that can be found in what is closest at hand. All our education might be brought to a point where it allows us to glimpse in wonder the slightest breath of life in front of us."

~ Thomas Moore, from Original Self: Living with Paradox and Authenticity

See also:

Marc Fichou
“Contenant Contenu” (Containing, Contained…)
Robert Berman Gallery
January 5 - February 16, 2013

Paying Attention to Attention

Paying Attention to Attention

"Zen meditation is a medium, you might say, or a technique to approach the medium of consciousness itself. Your consciousness may be a very unforgiving medium, other people may be more flexible but when you begin to sit in Zen meditation you find it is different from the other forms of meditation. In fact it’s not technically actually a meditation. The reason for that is because it becomes objectless and at the greatest depth of artistic creativity it also becomes subjectless, objectless, the individual becomes merged with the medium."

~ Taiun Elliston

In the Shade of Our Names

“Our name shelters a stranger, about whom we know nothing except that he is we ourselves.”

~ Octavio Paz


Between Going and Staying
by Octavio Paz

Between going and staying the day wavers,
in love with its own transparency.
The circular afternoon is now a bay
where the world in stillness rocks.

All is visible and all elusive,
all is near and can't be touched.

Paper, book, pencil, glass,
rest in the shade of their names.

Time throbbing in my temples repeats
the same unchanging syllable of blood.

The light turns the indifferent wall
into a ghostly theater of reflections.

I find myself in the middle of an eye,
watching myself in its blank stare.

The moment scatters. Motionless,
I stay and go: I am a pause.

No Other Meaning

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm
by Wallace Stevens, from Harmonium

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

[Thanks Mark!]

Thinking Isn’t Personal


A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but the attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.

Most people think that they are what their thoughts tell them they are."

~ Byron Katie

Using My Existence to Change My Existence

From the introduction to Antony Gormley written by the artist:

Domain LXIV, Antony Gormley (2008)I started with things close at hand, things that lay within arm’s reach, and have ended up making things bigger than houses. I went from dealing with bread and clothing, to the common ground of the body, having felt my way with trees and rocks.

Making sculpture stems from a need to leave a trace of existence, but there is an even greater need to challenge existence itself with mute objects that look back at us and question our materiality with their own.

Sculpture is a material measure—a form of physical thinking that can produce feeling. A form that can help us to think and feel in ways that we had not previously thought possible, as does the act of making the form. Sculpture has a bodily dimension—in touching you are also weighing, judging, anticipating. I am using my existence to change my existence.

A sculptural object is a testimony to the story of its own making, while having a dialogue with all the made and unmade things already in the world. The project moves forward by making, and looking at what one has made. Things demand to be made, but that demand comes from things that have already been made. At times it is difficult to know who is the maker, and who the made.

Sculpture can treat everything as raw material—whether it is a sophisticated readymade piece of technology, a body or a piece of wood. It achieves a self-sufficiency and independence whilst acknowledging a dependency on all that already exists.

Domain Field, Antony Gormley (2003)

Inside It You Find the Outside

“Architecture is supposed to be the location of security and certainty about where you are. It is supposed to protect you from the weather, from darkness, from uncertainty. Blind Light undermines all of that. You enter this interior space that is the equivalent of being on top of a mountain or at the bottom of the sea. It is very important for me that inside it you find the outside. Also you become the immersed figure in an endless ground, literally the subject of the work.”

~ Antony Gormley

Blind Light, Antony Gormley (2007)