Sunday, April 25, 2010

Place Of Eternal Happiness

Ah, to be innocent and full of wonder. Here are two quotes that can help us be free of prejudice:

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” Albert Einstein
“Verily I say unto you, except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  English Revised Bible, Matthew 18:3

In the first quote, I think Einstein knows full well how limited is human understanding, and how faulty can be its perception. Acknowledged as a true genius of the highest order, still, he is able to laugh at his own accomplishments. For Einstein, the more he came to know, the more he realized he did not know; and this was his entry into the kingdom of heaven, for he turned and became as the “little children”, full of wonder.

In the second quote, we are encouraged to become as little children. This does not mean to become infantile, because, we are turning to look back. Rather, it is adopting the child’s life, free of prejudice and full of wonder, awe, and gratitude, that allows us to enter into heaven, the place of eternal happiness, and remain there in a state of grace.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Sometimes the cruelty of this world is dumbfounding and so insulting to our senses that we recoil immediately and simply withdraw. I remember as a child when I saw someone with a mutilated face from burning, or another with missing or deformed limbs, how I felt afraid, as if beholding a monster I had only met in dreams, but now, here it was in real life. My mother would calm me and say, “Do not stare.” But the unfortunate person would ultimately be shunned because of fear.

Now that I am grown, I have no fear of people who are “different”, but rather, compassion for the great burden that they must carry all their lives. Recently, I came across a story on the Internet about victims, mostly female, of acid attacks. These young women usually were attacked because they simply asserted themselves as independent. Then, a spurned suitor or inflamed man attacked with acid, directing it at the victim’s face. It is terrible the damage that is done. See the article: Terrorism that’s personal.

In August of last year, while I was in Saigon, Vietnam, I met a young man begging on the street who was the victim of an acid attack. That week, I wrote my blog and reflected on the term “monster” and what it really means. See my blog, Monsters.

Misfortunes such as starvation, stillbirths, illnesses, have always afflicted humanity but what is truly mystifying and pointlessly tragic is the suffering humanity inflicts upon itself.

When will the human family rejoice in unity and fellowship and end the suffering it has long inflicted upon itself? Only when we see each other as precious . . . not as the “other” but as beloved.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pleasurable Dance of the Senses

A novice appeared recently at the Wednesday night drawing group I have attended for many years, and in a fit of peculiar frustration and perhaps bewilderment, asked the group why they draw from a nude model. I must say that this group I attend is very relaxed and usually a stream-of-consciousness conversation ensues the entire three hours of drawing.

My eyes were focused intensely on the model in front of me when Fabio asked and nobody answered, perhaps because the question seemed so odd at the time. I was the first to answer and replied, “Because it is creative, and artists have always studied the human form.” The group generally agreed figure drawing is an exacting artistic discipline. The model, a young woman reclining on a short platform pushed against a wall just a few feet in front of the artists said, “And this is why I like to model; because I participate in the creativity and enjoy it so much.”

Over the years, I have seen many models, male and female, young and old. A person does not have to be beautiful, but has to be comfortable in their body. A good artist model knows intuitively to strike poses that are interesting to the eye. When they simply withdraw into themselves and take yoga poses, for me at least, I become less inspired and feel the mundane invoked. The best models enjoy the sensuality of the moments while eyes are looking intently at their nakedness, and participate in a give and take that is a pleasurable dance of the senses.

To see more of my figure drawings, go to the Steven Boone website and click on the drawings link.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Pleasure of Reading

The pleasure of reading is beyond words. It reaches to the very core of being human, that is, the acquiring of knowledge. Knowledge furthers our ability to communicate and strengthens our interaction with the world, helping us discern between truth and falsehood.

In high school, I remember particularly a class in world literature. My youthful soul lusted after the thrill of discovery, including the adventures found in the pages of books. And of course, the selections were from the best of novels of days gone by.

For many years, I lost the luxury of reading for pleasure. After graduating college, I pursued a career, became a husband and father, and worked hard. My reading became more or less limited to newspapers, non-fiction and religious texts. Sometimes I would think longingly that it had been too long since I had read a novel.

I have rediscovered reading for pleasure. The last six books I have read, in order: Civilization and Its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), Narcissus and Goldmund, by Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) (read for the third time) , Eros and Civilization, by Herman Marcuse (1898-1979), Demian, by Hermann Hesse,  The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) (second reading), and now I am almost finished with The Torrents of Spring, by Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883). All these books became famous and elevated their authors in the public eye. Of course it takes erudition, knowledge, inspiration and a unique voice to create literary works of art.

Writing a novel can take years. I noticed this when it took three years to write my own book, A Heart Traced In Sand, Reflections on a Daughter’s Struggle for Life. Never before in my life had I taken so long at one task. The most time I have ever spent making a painting was about sixty hours.

Last night, I went with Jean to see the movie about Leo Tolstoy’s final days, called The Last Station. A marvelous film, full of warmth and candor, I especially appreciated it, being a big fan of Tolstoy and having just finished reading Dostoevsky’s Brothers and now pursuing the finish of Turgenev’s Torrents.

I am claiming time for the luxury, great pleasure, and elevation found in reading. Go into a library sometime and look at all the shelves filled with books. This sight is a wonder because it represents countless hours of revelation and inspiration.

Narcissus nodded, deep in thought. ‘Love of God,” he said slowly, searching for his words, is not always the same as love of good. I wish it were that simple. We know what is good for it is written in the commandments. But God is not contained only in the commandments you know—they are only an infinitesimal part of Him. A man may abide by the commandments and be far from God.

From Narcissus and Goldmund, Herman Hesse