Perception of Being
New works by Nicholas Baxter
“The heart has a natural capacity to find the eachness of things, to experience an intimacy with each particular event. The ancient Greeks called this capacity ‘aithesis.' Developing the capacity for aithesis allows the unique living essence that is present in all things to flow into the human through the organ of perception that is designed to receive it—the heart."
–Stephen Harrod Buhner
The heart has been regarded throughout history and across many cultures as the emotional and feeling center of the human—an intelligent organ of perception. Modern science has corroborated this ancient understanding by measuring emotion-based changes in the electromagnetic fields generated by the heart, with researchers going so far as to conclude that the heart’s own nervous system is so complex and intricate that it qualifies as a second brain.
Phenomenologist author David Abram writes, "We are organs of this world, flesh of its flesh” to describe the inverse of our mainstream logic: that the world we are embedded in, indeed the entire universe, is experiencing itself through us, via our own feelings and perceptions. And so universal feelings like joy, anger, and sadness find individual expression through the unique interfaces of our own consciousnesses, completing the interdependence of the individual and the whole, the merging of finite and infinite, micro and macro, an illustration that each of us are miniature holographic reproductions of the cosmos we inhabit and are made from.
We are thus immersed in an infinitely complex yet subtle energetic field from conception until death. Under the dominant material-reductionist paradigm of modern civilization, however, this aspect of existence is often ignored and denigrated. Esoteric feeling states are what language and hard science still, after many generations, struggle to describe and convey; indeed, words often drown out the delicate perceptions of the heart, and measurements merely quantify.
Where words and numbers fail, images and symbols may begin to succeed in describing and conveying the rich ether of our interior experience, the directly felt human condition, an ephemeral shifting myriad of momentary perceptions and feelings. There comes a time in many lives when exploration and recognition of these are necessary to reconnect the individual with a sense of purpose, meaning, or simply an appreciation of their own humanity. In describing and documenting these feeling states—through whatever medium or means necessary—we move toward the truth of self-knowledge and the integration of wisdom. This state of increased awareness comprises the path towards embodiment of our fullest human potential.
This collection of paintings is not definitive nor complete, merely an attempt to portray a portion of the vast internal experience of being human, through the visual manipulation of a simple and universally recognized symbol. Each heart is situated within a field of pure white, which represents the clear, unfettered and undisturbed awareness that resides beyond the level of ego and emotion. Our consciousness and its tendencies, perceptions, feelings, and emotions are the splashes of color, pattern, and form that populate this great expanse of unconditioned possibility.