The Shape Shifting of Metal

Sep 5, 2022 | Virtues of the Heart

I walk my dog most weekends in the Princeton University campus. It is known for its parklike beauty and Gothic architecture. There are many sculptures throughout the campus by local and international artists. One of the largest is by Richard Serra, who is known for his enormous steel sculptures. On this morning, I approached the sculpture, as I have done many times before, I felt compelled to put my hand on the large outer metal wall.

As I placed my hand on the cool rust colored surface, I did not want to think about what or why I was doing this. I had no expectations and I just wanted to be in emptiness. I closed my eyes and let go of all thought. In doing this I allowed a space for something to land.

In this space of sensing, inner seeing, imagining, the sculpture seemed to change, it was not solid, there was movement and flexibility, motion. I noticed this happening in my consciousness, while my mind wanted to give a commentary, explanation or to label it.

I noticed this also and gently let go of any thoughts.

I felt a wave of Appreciation and Humility bath me. These virtues were palpable and shifted my state in that moment. It led to a moment of bliss and being so grateful that I was alive in that moment. It was an uncommon union with the steel sculpture, perhaps at the quantum level, in which my eyes did not play a part.

I did not have to know what just happened or why I had the urge to place my hand on the sculpture. I did not need to know if it was real or imagined. I accepted it as an experience like any other experience. But in this, I was acutely aware, present and open to something that wanted to emerge. I had withdrawn my focus from the thoughts in my head and rested in stillness as the observer.

Whenever I can be in that present state (it can happen in many situations), I find that it is my most fulfilling state of being. It is being in love with my life, if only for a brief few seconds.

Appreciation lingered for the rest of the day.

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