In response to my last article about Authentic Impressionism and Mindfulness a reader responded… “So Difficult, though!” And I agree.

It is a practice. It is being aware – of where our awareness is at every moment of our conscious being. If we are not living consciously, aren’t we living unconsciously, then? Yes!!! Very much so!

We are unconsciously living from our sub-conscious memories, thoughts, past programming. These assumptions, these memories, that are not even true! Research has shown that most of what we remember is not what actually took place. Every time we visit a memory, it gets changed, based on our perception of the event, our emotions about it. For the other person in the same incident, it would mean something completely different and they would remember the events very differently. We put it away changed into the vaults of our brains only to retrieve it again tweak it some more.

Then we start to perceive the world, the present moment, from the filters of our past experiences. Not just our past experiences, but also of our ancestors. Our general way to look at life passes down either genetically or through association with our parents/caretakers, friends, spouses . What their point of view, their personal reality/personality about their outlook towards events in life, we start to live that very way, out of a preprogrammed reaction, which has nothing to do with the current moment.

Wow! Why would we want to live out of something that has nothing to do with the truth of the moment?

So, we must keep bringing ourselves back, repeatedly, to the current moment, through practice, through awareness, through resolve. And I know that we will keep getting pulled, over and over, to living from our habits, but life is a meditation of mindfulness. To go back to that childlike wonder, of the present moment and not taking things so personally, because all that is just pre-programming anyway. There is no suffering in the present moment, it just is. This is the biggest task that we are here to achieve. Isn’t it? All the other worldly achievements, we are not going to bring them back with, they are not going to show us the true joy of the soul if we can’t be in our hearts in the moment.

So, what does this have to do with Monet et al.? As I mentioned in the previous article how I relate to the philosophy and practice of the French Impressionists as a practice in Mindfulness.

Also, as I indicated, it’s a practice, the more we do it the better we get.

“I think I’m beginning to understand something about painting” -Renoir, speaking to a friend before he died

“Damn, and just when I was starting to get it.” -Degas, on his deathbed

“Ah, to live another 99 years, I’m just beginning to get the idea.” -Titian, on his deathbed at the age of 99

Yes, this may sound morbid, and/or disheartening; how about lifetimes over lifetimes of practice, but why not just start now, with this very moment; to be awakened, aware, and conscious now, right now? And keep coming back to the present. We will get lost in the past, suffer, but keep coming back. And the joys that wait in the present moment! The presence of our beings!

Impressionist painting with thick brushstrokes painted in the style of the French Impressionists. Plein Air painting of Willow Lake and Thumb Butte in Prescott, Arizona at dusk.
Willow Lake Dusk – Srishti Wilhelm

“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” -Monet

“I would like to paint as the bird sings” -Monet

“Free…..as a bird. It’s the next best thing to be.” -John Lennon

Wouldn’t you like to live like a bird? I would! But, Oh! So Difficult! Keep bringing it back! Keep bringing it back to the line and color, and get away from the pre-defined concept of a Lemon. Because isn’t that when we can truly Feel Alive?

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