Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Shimmering Gate of the Mind, Architecture & World

Architecture provides a shimmering gate into the fluid structure of the mind and the world. We're usually too busy to notice this. When I stop for a moment and really look, I realize I'm not seeing the building in front of me at all. Instead, I'm seeing my thoughts about it. More likely, I'm seeing my thoughts about 1,000 other things. The constant mind flow cascades like a waterfall between me and the object I imagine I'm looking at. The me in this case is that silent observer that is aware of my thoughts. What I'm looking at might be a gas station or a museum, but I can't them for the flood of thought between us. 

The problem with this is that I believe my thoughts are the architecture. But they are simply the story my mind is spinning about the architecture. "It's this style."..."It's well designed."..."It's a piece of crap."... "I could have designed it better."... And the problem with that is being lost in my mind's thought video reinforces the sense of a separate self that can be supported or harmed. It reinforces a disconnect from life, instilling fear and isolation.

Becoming aware of this process of me, the mind stream and the architecture on the other side of it, allows me to see through the waterfall of thoughts and actually perceive the architecture. When that happens, I see how the architecture is a solidification of the cultural mind-stream we dwell within. I see reflections of the collective hopes and fears, the creativity and mediocrity, the economics and the politics. I see how we live within structures of the mind and believe we are living in the world.

Looking deeper still, I see passed the designed form into spaciousness, into that silent hum of unmoving movement. That's when things get interesting. I see that a piece of architecture doesn't have to be only about itself. It doesn't have to scream, "Look at me!" It can be a gateway into the womb of creative energy and wisdom. It can be can opening to connection and peace. Architecture can be a portal to new possibilities and freedom. 

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