Aesthetic Rapture & the Power of Beauty

I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean…

– Socrates

Maya is not that mirage — that temporary hallucination — that one’s awareness is subjected to or rendered to, as water in the desert, when in fact it does not have substance behind it. From the Tantric perspective, everything has the substance of Consciousness. Everything is made out of Consciousness, down to the elemental order. In other words, there is nothing other than Consciousness. Whether this is an inert rock or a flower, it is made — not out of what goes into the particles of that creation, nor is it a hallucination in Consciousness with its ever-changing phenomena — it is Consciousness for the sake of Consciousness.

How can that be, that if everything is made of Consciousness, how can Consciousness then be obstructed from Itself? And this is where the Tantric discourses begin, and this is where the Tantric discourses unfold from. But what sets Tantra apart from any other philosophical perspective born in the Indian subcontinent, is that there is no dilemma between the relative and the Absolute. The relative and the Absolute here, is Shakti on the lap of Shiva; it is the embrace of the source and its energy. It is a perpetual embrace. It is not something that comes and goes.

In the myriad of ways that Awareness expresses Itself, It expresses Itself through a particular thatness in creation. Everything therefore has its own appearance, has its own flavor — distinctive, undeniable. And yet, it is perfectly perceived by myself as the experiencer here. And how does that happen if not for the fact that it is only Awareness and nothing else? The fact that I can behold this flower in all its aspects simultaneously in the field of my own Awareness, is because the appearance of that flower — the flowerness of that flower, which encompasses all its aspects — is nothing other than my own ‘aspect.’ Nothing other than my own Consciousness. I do not even recognize this flower. The act of recognition is only on account of these processes; the reason why I recognize this flower is because I AM in that flower. It is likewise with absolutely every experience — it is because I AM in absolutely every experience that this becomes a possibility in Consciousness, for that experience to be as such.

Beauty is Ananda taking form – but the form need not be a physical shape. One speaks of a beautiful thought, a beautiful act, a beautiful soul. What we speak of as beauty is Ananda in manifestation…

– Śri Aurobindo

And this is what the path of beauty is all about, it is that throb, the quiver of Consciousness within the Heart of your own. It is the very seat of your own Awareness, where everything is beheld —  beheld as that quiver, simultaneously experiencing the expansion and contraction as nothing but a wave of your own Awareness, as ebb and flow, that coming of your heart and being re-emerged and submerged back into the heart. This is the path of beauty. Whichever way you take, whichever you choose to express yourself, through graffiti or through tea ceremony—makes no difference. Whether you dance on stage or under a tree when no one’s watching – it’s an act of offering…

 

Aesthetic Rapture ~ Transformative Power of Beauty

by Igor Kufayev

…As an artist, already from an early age, I’ve noticed how every experience has a certain resonance… a certain texture, a certain color, a certain flavor… And even a certain dimension where the experience felt most compelling…

These experiences were the budding impulses of creative outpouring eager to blossom within my being, with the senses as the apertures, both capable of absorbing or allowing the light of my own awareness to illumine reality into an extraordinary event filled with presence, or to rob me of my own Self…

How all these was arising was not always clear, but there was this mixture of intimacy and detachment – I knew this to be an inseparable part of my own self as a passionate but uninvolved spectator.

Wasn’t long before that I’ve realized the terrifying Power of Beauty as the delight incomparable to any as the essence arising deep within my own being.

…I’ve never really considered myself to be a seeker and the quest was not so much in finding the way out, but rather the way in… into that mystery of perception where the sanctity of the senses – as divine agencies – culminate in a state of the Aesthetic Rapture… where the Self beholding its own magnificence as this experience…

Way before the mind could be converted into other possibilities and philosophies where this phenomenal existence is seen and dismissed as an illusion arising in consciousness, I’ve realized, that my own breath is the ebb and flow to measure infinity itself… and my senses are divine instruments eager to be tuned into their finest level of resonance, so as to hear the ‘unheard’ voice of Creation arising within my own Being…

This (teaching) is an invitation to re-evaluate the nature of experience and to reclaim your divine status. The only quest here is in beholding life awakening through you as existence itself… This is the Path of Beauty…

The quality of our experiences are based on the level of our consciousness. The World out there is the way we perceive it in here and that’s not a static affair, for our reality changes with our perception of it. Everything unfolds in that creative tension between the subject and the object and the relationship between them. It is for that reason the refinement of perception is seen as an indispensable part of any spiritual progress… until subject and object, lover and beloved, are drowned in the Sea of Love…

This is not a concept but a revelation upon which the sanity of our lives depends. The sanity of our civilization… This revelation is what connects us to the very ground of existence.

This sanctity is life awakened to Silence steeped in Bliss – it is a stream flowing through you as wakefulness of your own awareness…

That sacred flow – though an inherent part of the river of being – is in need to be invoked through direct partaking, and diving into the depth of that invocation… again and again…

– Igor Kufayev – Mill Valley, California. November 28, 2014

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Passages & quotes by Igor in this Journal are taken from discourses at the immersion “Shanta Rasa – Transformative Power of Beauty” in BC, Canada, June 2017 and from Igor’s SAND presentation “The Transformative Power of Beauty” in San Jose, CA, 2016.

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Join us for the upcoming week-long immersion “Aesthetic Rapture – Tantra’s Hidden Path & the Power of Beauty” with Igor in beautiful Umbria, Italy, Sept 16-23, where this rarely-spoken-of theme, and Tantric path in its own right will be the focus of the discourses, Q&A sessions and inner exploration.

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Watch the film “Aesthetic Rapture – Transformative Power of Beauty” in which Igor speaks these poetic words which were used in this Journal post. Filmed and edited by Caroline Harrison. California, 2014.

Images: Courtesy of Flowing Wakefulness Fellowship.

 

 

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