Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ESSAY FOURTEEN – Finding the Image Story

In the previous essay, I talked about something I called the Image Story. As I mentioned, while we have millions of memories stored away in our minds, there seem to be some stories that are different. Rather than merely being recollections of incidents or bits of data, they seem to be strangely important – often far out of proportion to the facts, incidents and people surrounding them. My belief is, that these memories, or Image Stories are important in helping us to become the artist we wish to be.

As you are able to start letting these images into your consciousness, it is only natural to wonder what you are suppose to do with them. Your goal is to incorporate them into your creative awareness, because they contain some of your most fertile seeds - they will supply many new possibilities and suggest many new directions for dance, music, visual art and writing.

STEP ONE: Allow the memory in. You are not required to know anything about it, explain it, justify it, rationalize it or add anything to it. I t is already complete - it needs nothing from you, you need something from it. Resist the temptation to analyze or make the moment productive. Just let it in and enjoy it.

Notes: The goal here is understanding, not information gathering in the traditional sense. Understanding is an internal process, while information gathering is external. To get information, facts are collected, organized and then broken down into discreet bits of data that are then analyzed and framed into a conclusion. This type of organization is great if you are attempting to explain the human digestive processes, the mechanics of a super-nova or even how to calculate long term Capitol Gains. We are not interested in information about our Image Stories, but rather learning how to listen and honor them, for that is a path towards wisdom.

STEP TWO: Establish yourself into the Image. Do not sit outside being a neutral observer, but become the participant you were when the memory/image/story originally took place. You are not interested in an analysis of the details, but an awareness of the moment. Feel it, rather then dissect it.

Notes: There is a branch of advanced physics called Quantum Mechanics that studies extremely small particles of matter and their properties. Scientists are very interested in determining the precise location and the precise speed of these particles, because, since they can’t be seen, that knowledge would go far in explaining much about them. What they have discovered, however, is that the more accurately you determine the particles’ position, the more your actual observation makes it impossible to determine speed (velocity). The act of direct observation of location affects speed in unpredictable ways, and vice versa. This is known as The Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

In a manner of speaking, direct, intense examination of our own Image Stories also changes them into something far less powerful. Our goal is to feel them, let them envelop us and hopefully to fully experience them. It is not their factual properties that give them their power, and it is not analysis that will release their light. In Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Alice journeys through a mirror into Looking Glass Land, and she discovers that the only way to approach something is to walk in the opposite direction. If she insisted upon directly approaching something, soon it was so far away as to be no longer visible. Sometimes, the harder we concentrate on a problem, the harder it is to solve. Remember dear old Doctor Heisenberg – maybe he had a relationship with Alice? Are there any doctoral students in Physics out there, looking for a thesis topic?

STEP THREE: Find out where it takes you. As you allow yourself to become more immersed in the mind image you have welcomed, feel the different responses to it you are experiencing. It may not be just pleasant memories - there are questions, puzzles, mysteries, and perhaps danger here. In all probability, there are two different levels of dialogue taking place - one level dealing with satisfaction and reward, and the second, and deeper level, embracing insights as to who you are and where you might be going.





These images reward us, and sanctify our existence. They are with us constantly because the chord they play resonates on the basic sounding board of our soul. These are the images that convey to us how wonderful certain aspects of our life have been. These special, long term memories of people, incidents, locations or relationships are always there, and their power is that they carry multiple messages for us. The most obvious is the personal feelings we have when they are present, because of the built in rewards inherent in recalling these special moments. This aspect of our Image story makes us feel good about being our self.





While there is also personal reward in these responses, there are other levels of these “remembrances” that are even more substantive. When you start letting yourself become immersed in their sensations, you start to realize that beyond the warm feelings there are ambiguities that are also arising out of these images. It is at that level that we find one of our great sources for meaning in our art.

In future essays, there will be some suggestions as to what you can do with the Image Stories you uncover. Remember, in most of our journeys, it is the Quest, the journey itself that has more value than the destination. As always, I welcome any comments, suggestions or insights you might wish to communicate. I would especially appreciate hearing about or reading any Image Stories that you might become aware of, after reading this.


Helga said...

Hi, Bob,
thanks a lot for your visit to my blog and for your nice comment and approval.
i`m glad to know that you have origins from St-Petersburg initially!

good luck to you too!


Jen Galante said...

I enjoyed taking a break from work mid-day to read your piece on the Image Story.

Most interesting to me about memories, and the purpose they serve, is that for every one I have, there may be someone else who has been impressed by the same event, to a different degree--or perhaps not at all.

What my mind traps, should exert pressure on my actions...that is, if i take the time to find out what my mind has chosen to remember...

artquest1 said...

It's always good to take breaks, Jen!
I'm not talking as an analyst, a psychologist or a memory specialist, but as an artist. When I refer to memories, I'm talking about those specific memories we have as an individuals that seem to be powerful, long lived and pop up at strange times. My premise is that those memories have something to tell us. They exist because some element is important and have something to tell us (as artists).
No, not to be "analyzed" but to be incorporated into our artistic process (and yes, that even includes creative beading!).
If you try it with your designs and something wonderful happens, you owe me some chocolate cookies!
Good luck, Bob