Meeting the Shadow

I have recently been teaching a class entitled Creative Arts & Self-Inquiry which focuses on the testing of reality from various theoretical orientations and understandings as well as an inquiry into the Self. Using Jung as a jump off point and bringing in Neo-Jungian concepts has been a return to the shadow for myself as the universe always seems to have an interesting way of throwing things back your way.

Hate and rage is something that most of us deal with at one point or another in our lives. And to look at the state of society these days one can see that there really is not much hope in looking to others unless we are able to look into our Selves and reconcile some of the opposing forces in which we deny or run from. Jung explains this as our persona (our public face), which is essentially a compromise between you and the world. For example; as a student you may receive a low mark and be enraged at you low mark; you approach your instructor and repress the anger and rage as you know that it is not socially acceptable to release your anger on someone in that context and would probably be concerned that you may get yourself into trouble. Where do you think all that anger goes if it is not released? Into the shadow that holds all our unwanted emotions and parts of our personality, which is held in the unconscious.

Art is a great way to release the shadow, or at least begin to accept and befriend it. As we begin to touch the dark seedy part of us all, we begin to expand our sense of personality and thus can understand that we are a sum of our parts, not just one aspect as we tend to believe. This assists in having a wider view of ourselves and the world around us as we can see that so much of our struggle and strive in life is by our own creation.

Below is a shot that I did after an intense session of writing, drawing, and painting in which I feel really brings this concept to life – feeling an intense distaste the entire time.  It speaks for itself.

Kyler

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More Cemetary Shots

Uneven Ground

Elevated Walkway

Thought that I would post a few shots from another cemetary shoot last week, or the week prior – I cant get my weeks straight. I love the marble in the one area I shot, so many reflections. Many more to come…maybe not just in the Cemetary though, right?

Tunnel Vision

Be a Lamp unto Yourself

This last one is an HDR. I have become addicted to HDR and the colors or effect that you can get with the software. I find that my shooting is maybe suffering a little though cause I just want to do everything with HDR. So I vow to slow down, although I already have…Hope you enjoy…

HDR

(C) Kyler Evans 2009, All Rights Reserved

The Suchness of Reality

'06
 

  I uploaded this painting a while ago and it just sits in the side bar in “drafts” cause I dont know why exactly I uploaded it so I thought I would use it first. This used to be my favorite painting (that I have painted) as it seems to convey a certain mood.

 

 I had moved to Kimberly B.C to do a practicum (2006) and was spending alot of time alone, writing and painting and just doing those kinds of things. I started to really witness the universal reality of sadness and the absolute connection with all around me. It was an interesting time in my life. I was overcome with intense feelings of sadness almost all the time for a period. It was a very transformational experience.

The whole thing of it is just the reality of existence, things fade in and out of existence and we are faced with life and death everywhere we look, it is only a matter of opening our hearts and our minds to what else is going on around us. We need only begin to move a little away from our egoic existence in order to begin to witness the world – and our own egos – in a different way. We are terrified as individuals to really embrace sadness, but sadness and emotional intensity does not have to be something to fear. As we look further intraspectively through contemplation,  meditation, and yoga (I also use art for meditative and reflective purposes) we the grip of the ego begins to loosen and provide a newfound freedom that we never thought was possible. I will quote the Heart Sutra here as it gives such a great description of this;

            O Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness,

            Emptiness no other than form;

            Form is precisely emptiness,

            Emptiness is precisely form.

            Sensation, perception, reaction, and consciousness are also like this.

            O Shariputra, all things are expressions of emptiness:

            Not born, not destroyed; not stained, not pure; neither waxing nor waning 

 

 

This is a great conversation between the Buddha and one of his students. I feel that the Sutra really speaks volumes to challenge what we think we know about everything around us. Another quote I did want to include and comment on is in regards to therapy (as a therapist). This quote is from Mark Epstein who is a Buddhist psychiatrist out of  New York:

 The traditional view of therapy as building up the self simply does not do justice to what we actually seek from the therapeutic process. We are looking for a way to feel more real, but we do not realize that to feel more real we have to push ourselves further into the unknown.

Such a great quote to give us a new perspective on things when we are looking at life and especially the internal verses the external reality. As we look outside of our “selves” and build our “selves” up more and more we begin distance from the consciousness that we are. To feel “more real” as Epstein says, one must begin to look at the structure of “self” itself, and deconstruct certain “fixations” and “illusions” through the process of what many others  call inquiry. As Maharshi states; “Self-inquiry is to focus the entire mind at its source. It is not, therefore, a case of one ‘I’ searching for another ‘I.’ 

 

So to start simply take up the contemplative practice of “who am I?” It is not just a thought “who am I?” It is a contemplation on “who am I?”  Not thinking about it, contemplating it. Similar to a Zen koan in which it is a question that may take the practitioner years to answer, or realize that there is no answer, the self-inquiry of “who am I?” is a long deconstructive process by which we can begin to know Self/consciousness. Enjoy…

 

(C) Kyler Evans, All Rights Reserved

The Phoenix Rises Again…& Again…& Again…

My life, and I suppose most peoples lives in one fashion or another, is filled with change and death. Death is change, and change is death. I dont mean death only in the traditional “dead body” sense. No, no, no, I mean like each moment dies into another moment and is then reborn to the next, no holding on to anything, just dying. Each and every moment. Now while the phoenix itself, is of great symbolism in my life*, is maybe not nessisarily representative of the whole “die to each moment” part of rebirth; it seems to hold that symbolism for me. So as I think about the phoenix I can only say that it is a symbol which pops up in my life over and over and over, hence the name of the blog, website, and so on. So here is another visual piece that has come up today. It is a digital art sort of piece I guess, abstract, deep and dark. But I feel at home in the dark and in the light these days (there is always solice to be found in both darkness and light) which is a nice change. As Jung talked about the shadow being such a driving force in creativity, all of the red, orange, and black that I am drawn too, is also a testament to that. As Nietzsche states, “We have art so that we shall not die of reality.” And thus, reality, is what we all really run from isnt it? Look at all the paradoxes of life:

Paradox

 

As the globe is illuminated by a pale magenta glow,

A women is raped.

As the snowflakes float down to tickle my face,

A man has been beaten and killed.

As the unity of all universal beauty commences in my heart,

A child has been struck.

A dying breed, that continues on…

 

2006

 

I suppose it is quite a nihlistic view of the world, but none the less, it is a picture of expression for that time in my life and how I felt in the world. I would not say that I still feel the same, but I would not say that I dont either. So here is the piece I have been talking about, Enjoy…

 

phoenix

 

“Phoenix Taking Form” 2009

 

2006-2009 Kyler Evans, All rights reserved.

NOTE: Permission for the use of my images and writing is granted for personal websites and blogs (THAT MEANS NO ADDS AND NO SELLING OF ANY KIND) but must include a link back to this site and proper credit given to me for my work, Kyler Evans.

Link to be used…(https://arisingphoenix.wordpress.com/)

*I have one tattooed on my left shoulder which was designed by a good friend (check out Rion-art link if you want to see his stuff).

Here is a self-portrait of my tattoo:

Phoenix Tat

Tattoo done by Mike Peace, Calgary, AB, (cant tell you the year, but it has been a while…)

A Simple Koan

I have been doing a lot of responses to what my unconscious mind seems to put down on a canvas or paper or whatever I am using at the time. This is just the simple process of expressive arts and using art as a path in itself. Anyway, the piece iself is oil pastel, and is called

 

Fluffy Bunnies: Theres Heaven, Theres Hell, then there is the Balance of NOthing that lies in-between. 

Fluffy Bunnies: Theres Heaven, Theres Hell, then there is the Balance of NOthing in-between

So that is the piece itself, here is the response to it, note I tend to have many images of faces turn up in almost everyone of my paintings. The unconscious is an interesting thing.

A Simple Koan:

 

Faces,

            Faces,

                        Faces with no face at all,

 

To whom to come;

            To whom to fall,

                        For they have no names at all,

 

The Faces…

                                       So many Faces,

                        Eyes seem to call,

 

“nothing”…

                        “nothing at all.”

 

For it is only in my mind,

            That there is such a grind,

                        To create such a scheme,

                                    Or,

                                                Is it all just a dream?

2006-2009 Kyler Evans, All rights reserved.

NOTE: Permission for the use of my images and Poetry is granted for personal websites and blogs (THAT MEANS NO ADDS AND NO SELLING OF ANY KIND) but must include a link back to this site and proper credit given to me for my work, Kyler Evans.

Link to be used…(https://arisingphoenix.wordpress.com/)

 

 

In Progress

In progress…

 Peering through the glass door,

                One just never knows,

                                What the depths will bring you,

                                                Or if the hole will close.

Looking at the earth,

                It breaks my heart in half,

                                Yet, I still don’t know,

                                                If there is a true path.

Trapped behind a curtain,

                I sat by idle and cried,

                                No freedom or respect their,

                                                And no matter what I lied.

It all just seems so crazy,

                So fucked up and surreal,

                                What I had to do for survival,

                                                Begrudgingly… start to feel.

The really big issue was that, I never got to heal,

from all of the suffering, pain and utter shame,

being on top of the world ,

                                then wanting to blow myself away.

The rollercoaster up and down,

                Made my mind twist and turn round and round,

In a ridiculous circle,

                                (Have you seen that internet commercial?)

                                                                The wild comments and allegations,

But I worked there too and,

And even then, had my own reservations,

But I wanted to help,

The suffering addicts,

                To find the life,

                                                I thought I had,

Until I did some reading,

                                Which made me feel sort of sad.

I somehow feel guilty,

                But know if was not my fault,

                                And yet that does not seem to,

                                                Jive with the all the thoughts, in my unconscious vault.

I never wronged,

                I loved and cared,

                                For others whom my empathy,

                                                Was completely shared.

See,

That is just the problem,

                The issue that I have,

                                I just feel things so deeply,

                                                Which sometimes makes me very sad,

It comes and goes,

                Mind ravaged with madness,

It feels so numb only, fro – Zen

The pathless path,

I was once on,

                Or so it feels,

                                On my brand new, Road to ashes.

Cause here’s the thing,

                Here’s the catch,

                                I know in my heart,

In the bottom of my soul,

                I must die again,

                                Like ashes in my pipe bowl.

I am afraid,

I am unsure,

                                                It makes no sense,

                                                                                                And is quite fucking obscure.

This psychedelic trauma,

                And the rest of the Trip,

And it feels like an iceberg,

                This is only the tip.

Sure I had some issues,

                Who the fuck does not? 

Write it on the tissues,

Used to untie my minds knot,

                Of which all,

Was the credit that you took,

                                Did you write my thesis too?

Did you write my fuckin book?

                                These words are only,

                A representation of how I feel,

I wish you could see,

                How it is for me sometimes to deal.

 I cannot blame,

                I cannot point the finger,

But the struggle I have,

                                                Is that it still lingers,

Within my vast,

                Psyche in fact,

                                But I still have trouble,

                                                Knowing how to act,

In many situations,

                What the hell is that supposed to mean,

                                                SITUATIONS.

I guess that’s the thing,

                When we are all really asleep,

                                And unaware of the fact,

                                                That most of us are just a bunch of fuckin sheep.

I have a real problem,

                With being a sheep myself,

                                and I know that most of time,

it is very bad, indeed, for my mental health.

For no one likes a person,

                who comes off as confident,

                                and Ill tell you sometimes,

                                                it is hard to pay the rent.

In this world,

                This place that we have built,

                                9-5, 44 hours a week,

                                                While our being just continues to wilt.

A fuckin madman,

                I must be,

                                To make the any of the claims,

                                                That I be,

 Whatever.

 That’s just the Alberta in me,

                The redneck, yes indeed,

That can’t see all as equal,

                Or that people that are in need,

Of a community that gives,

                Not tears us all apart,

                                A community of love,

                                                That we all take in part,

Some responsibility and some real reflections,

                And a lesson to be learned in freedom,

                                A thought that when we look at him,

                                                Not everyone wants to be him.

Or him, or her,

                In your fuckin little cult,

                                Wake the fuck up, and realize,

                                                The abuse that you have dealt.

This is the voice,

                The voice of just,

A scared little boy

                                A child who loved, and cried, and felt fear,

And at times could also be very coy…

2006-2009 Kyler Evans, All rights reserved.

NOTE: Permission for the use of my images is granted for personal websites and blogs (THAT MEANS NO ADDS AND NO SELLING OF ANY KIND) but must include a link back to this site and proper credit given to me for my work, Kyler Evans.

Link to be used…(https://arisingphoenix.wordpress.com/)

HDR Frenzy

Cemetary Gate HDR

The last couple days, the sun has decided to come out to say hello, so I decided to go and greet this wonderful entity. The interesting part of it all was, the sun decided to play hide and go seek all day long. The lighting changed drastically from moment to moment, a lot like life. Nothing remains stagnant, only movement, death and rebirth. So I spent the afternoon in a cemetery. What a beautiful place to go. The trees all have so much character and depth, while even situated off a busy road (although the other side backs onto the huge coolie in Lethbridge) it was silent. Giving me lots of time to reflect and appreciate the interconnectedness of life and death, family and attachments. There is so much wisdom that can radiate from a tree. I think that we can learn so much from a tree when it all comes down to it. When a storm comes, they just go with the flow, roots grounded and balanced. Not trying to resist what is.

 

I want to face life like a tree…Tree in a Puddle

So this shot up top is one of the few that I took for an HDR. Then I thought I would try to unwrap it all in photomatrix as well. Quite happy with this shot here as well….

Psychedellic tree

Also did a decided to take my orange cokin filter to see what it could do with HDR, the orange filter seems to pick up very well when it is a little bit cloudy or has that grey lighting outside; which was the case when I took the shot. Its a little weird, but it is what it is.

Walkway to everyones fate

And last but not least, I ripped home after the cemetary in the afternoon grabbed some food and when out to an area I have never been before that is a few minutes away from my house. The colors were sort of muted, so I thought that I would also have the HDR reflect that, it sort of fades in and out of color and is really surreal. I posted a bunch more shots on flickr, if you are interested as well as these shots in full size.  Please enjoy and comment if you like it or hate it or what, I am good either way.

Going Southwest

 

 

2006-2009 Kyler Evans, All rights reserved.

NOTE: Permission for the use of my images is granted for personal websites and blogs (THAT MEANS NO ADDS AND NO SELLING OF ANY KIND) but must include a link back to this site and proper credit given to me for my work, Kyler Evans.

Link to be used…(https://arisingphoenix.wordpress.com/)

 

 

Breaks in Reality

After looking at some of my writing I am thinking I will try and add one piece a day, or maybe more. This piece gives a good sense of the experience of no-self and the fear and madness that can ensue when one cannot slow down the mind. Slowing down the mind has been a real struggle for me since I began this journey and is becoming a key to my own sanity really. The mind acts as the self trying to grasp onto something to come back into existence, but it is only a construct of who we think that we are. We are all in fact just one; one entity that continues through life not recognizing the freedom in oneness, wholeness. It is a beautiful thing to access this state and other states of reality that we do not see regularly. This can be done through many different forms of meditation as well as many other avenues, but can take years. As Alex Grey puts it, “These or other related methods may trigger experiences that take the aspirant from a mundane perception of reality, wherein objects seem separate and composed of only material properties, to a view of divine unity with boundless depth of dimension and meaning.” (The Mission of Art).

So next time you experience reality in a new or different way, open your heart, not your mind, and see where the universe leads you. Hopefully you can go back home! 

 

 

 

Breaks

 

The self has died

Only to give way to a vast energy which can not be described accurately

It penetrates all layers

Cutting into nowhere and everywhere

Numb body

Dull vision

Racing mind

Frantic energy

            Unable to come back to the body

            Intensity comes through all areas of the vehicle

            Gone, gone, beyond gone

            This new dimension in which there is no release

Loud

Hurting ears

Penetrating essence

Crunching leaves

            Paranoia sets in and I can not handle it

            Stepping over anything that will break silence

            Fear of all that may be

            I can not hide from the essence of this experience

Anger

Insanity

Loss of control

Suicidal

            I am overcome with the guilty pleasure

            I want to get revenge and leave this body

            Release this nothing into nothingness

            Where it fucking belongs!

Crazy

Nuts

Psychotic

Rage

            It can no longer be done

            There is no solace from the madness

            No ground to stand on

            Only vast luminous emptiness

Surrender

Calm

Beauty

Sadness

            Stillness

                        Love

 

2006-2009 Kyler Evans, All rights reserved.

NOTE: Permission for the use of my images is granted for personal websites and blogs (THAT MEANS NO ADDS AND NO SELLING OF ANY KIND) but must include a link back to this site and proper credit given to me for my work, Kyler Evans.

Link to be used…(https://arisingphoenix.wordpress.com/)

I am

I have a notebook that I leave in my truck so I can write on the go if I NEED TO or feel drawn to do so. It usually just sits in the truck, but it is in the house at the moment, so I thought I would share a few writings and poems. This was written in January of 2007, post egoic death. This experience to which I am talking about is not metaphorical, it was a felt sense of what was going on for me at the time. writing has helped me to make more sense of some of these experiences and integrate them into my everyday consciousness. I have also created many paintings to do a similar thing (will post as I find). But here is the poem;

 

I am

 

The sounds vibrate through me,

Although, I am not here,

Nor there

 

I choose my steps carefully,

As the universe is all that,

I am.

 

The path, the leaves,

The wind, this body, the sky,

All “me”

 

Vast, silencing, piercing energy,

Cutting through the mind,

Sanity is disturbed

 

There is no running or hiding from this,

No end, or beginning,

Infinite

 

The mind is not designed for this,

The eyes bear a heavy burden,

They see all

 

Hundreds of thousands of eyes,

That see and feel,

Itself.

 

2006-2009 Kyler Evans, All rights reserved.

NOTE: Permission for the use of my images is granted for personal websites and blogs (THAT MEANS NO ADDS AND NO SELLING OF ANY KIND) but must include a link back to this site and proper credit given to me for my work, Kyler Evans.

Link to be used…(https://arisingphoenix.wordpress.com/)