A way of seeing

Mike Heseltine


connected ink drawing

Sitting in Durham Cathedral. Spirits walk towards the light, circling like a clock. A continuous pattern of repeating lives in a single moment of consciousness. Like a mantra, the window is a gateway to awaken us from our illusion of separateness. All connected by the centre. Beyond the window only light. No form, no thought, no separation. More..

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zen painting

There is a connection between us and all our ancestors. There is a connection between their actions, however long ago, and the way we are today. Their life continues in us. The pattern at the figures feet is taken from the Arundel tomb in Chichester Cathedral. The tomb has two carved figures which have faded with time. All that clearly remains is the outstretched hands holding each other. Their identity, status and deeds have all been forgotten, with just the gesture of love remaining. This was the subject of a wonderful poem by Philip Larkin. For me, the patterns taken from the base of the tomb have come to represent the contemplation of death and the wisdom found in stillness. Each part of the pattern is incomplete, imperfect and fragile, like each of us, but the pattern persists because of each repeated component. There is only one pattern, just as there is only one continuous life. The feelings within me that the pattern generates are feelings of acceptance and stillness. If we can accept death is part of the one continuous life, then we can find peace. More..

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 Stillness in Chichester Cathedral

The window is a gateway to a place within us. A place of stillness. This painting is of the Joan de Vere tomb in Chichester Cathedral. The restful pose, depicts a stillness that connects us all. The hands in prayer suggest an acceptance of what is, without needing to understand. The face is calm, untroubled by thoughts. It is comforting in it's peacefulness, while outside are the chaotic figures of everyday life. The light pours in from the large stained glass window. The light, containing no words or form, enables us to see the stillness within. More..

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Rumi quote illustrated

Rumi, the 13th century poet wrote "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep." The Cathedral window awakens within me the ability to let go. When we die, we let go of everything, but we can die before we die. In so doing, we find a place beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing. More..

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 What we have is enough painting

Experiencing the present moment is to also experience the freedom of letting go. One evening an owl hovered above Rosanna and me. For a moment time seemed to stand still and with it all thought. The owl brought both of us into the present moment, which ignites an awareness where possessions, attachments, stress and anxiety have no place. Without thought, where we are and what we have is enough. There is no ego striving for more and a new awareness of our life is visible. We found a deep happiness in seeing the owl. There is happiness in everything. In the painting, the owl is carrying the moon, an image I now associate with being brought into the present moment and appreciating what we already have. The patterns are Rosanna and I, united in seeing the owl. More..

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Zen painting

When the owl hovered above us, I witnessed my thoughts stopping. There was an awareness from beyond my thoughts. An awareness which felt connected with the owl, the moon and beyond. A single, universal consciousness. We tend to use our thoughts to try to define who we are, but our thoughts are just limited to our perceptions and experiences, created in an imagined space. Our thoughts are just illusions of separateness. More

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 Your perception of me is a reflection.

Our perceptions are also based on our thoughts and illusions. This painting was inspired by "Your perception of me is a reflection of you. My reaction to you is an awareness of me" by an unknown author. The falling figures on the left are chaotic and cover the eyes of the left hand face while the right hand face is being brought the moon by an owl. The moon is empty, containing no thought, representing an awareness, openness and understanding when thoughts cease. More..

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I am not an observer of the world, I am part of the world.

The bird and I co-exist. Without the bird, I am different. I am not an observer of the world, I am part of the world. The experience of seeing the bird becomes part of me. More..

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cloud, rain, river, sea, dolphin.

The dolphin and I co-exist. The clouds produce the rain which flow into the rivers and the sea. The dolphin lives in the sea and is observed by me. There is no observer without the observed and so me, the dolphin, the sea, the river, the rain and the cloud are all connected. In the moment, my experience of seeing the dolphin is me and that experience has no separation from all those elements. More..

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