As I was scribbling down this quote in my little note book of haphazard things (like addresses of vegetarian restaurants, passwords, interesting book titles and hotel confirmation numbers) the security guard in Santa Fe's Okeeffe Gallery kindly brought me a printed page of quotes. I couldn't help but notice his passion for his job and his kindness to all us gallery goers. He was there whole heartedly, not just passing the time or enforcing rules to make sure we didn't get our grubby paws on the goods. He shared little details about Okeeffe and her work. He was living an ordinary life in a non-ordinary way. A bodhisattva in a security uniform.
I felt the urge to scribble down this particular quote of Okeeffe's because it speaks to the mystery of this world, something I forget too easily. It is so easy to put on our grey glasses of ho-hum and hum-drum and forget about the mystery of the world, to think we know it all, or can figure it out, or look it up on google, . What about the sky or rock or strangely twisted branch? When we look deeply, we can see beyond the commonness, the mundane, beyond the labels. And that is what we're trying to do when we practice, isn't it? Wake up, see with fresh eyes, have beginners mind?
Great art, I think, can help us see the mystery. Artists like Okeeffe explore the world deeply in a way that inspires and touches us and can wake us up. There is an enlivening energy when you are in the presence of great art. A good gallery has the quality of a zendo, spare and quiet and inviting contemplation. I most often find when I read the commentary by artists there is a spiritual quality in their words, whether they would call it that or not.
Also in the gallery was the work of Susan Rothenberg, huge semi-abstracts, some filled with a calm presence, some filled with chaotic motion. Check them out! They might just inspire you to see your dog or your arm in a whole new way.