A Unity of Three

Kaethe Kauffman, Meditators 3-Orange & Red, 42″x56″, ink, 2023

When I meditate, I feel as though I drift through various mental levels. Closest to ordinary experience, I observe thoughts that arise and fall away. When I’m more relaxed, I perceive colors moving in interior space and I delight in watching them with my inner eye. In a deeper calm, I feel a tingly electric sensation which seems like the life force (in Chinese, “chi” and in Sanskrit, “prana”). It permeates my body. In the drawing above, the changing textured ink lines in differing geometric shapes around the seated figures depict the sacred energetic surroundings I sense when I’m in the most serene state.

In Meditators 3, I intuitively draw three overlapping figures that signify a common archetype for spiritual awareness in many systems of thought. The philosophical Dialectic consists of a Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis. When I weave on a loom, the warp I first install provides the basic structure, a type of Thesis. As I thrust the weft through the warp at a ninety degree angle, I add the Antithesis, the opposing force. When I cut resulting piece of fabric off the loom, it exemplifies the Synthesis, a product of the first two dynamisms. Weaving is a spiritual practice, combining creative forces to forge a new entity. It symbolizes transcendent growth: my original state of mind (Thesis) and a new insight (Antithesis) merge to give me a new and better reality.

In Christianity, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are a revered triad. In Hinduism, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva represent the creator, the preserver and the destroyer/recycler. Buddhism commonly references the Buddha (enlightened consciousness), the Dharma (the teachings) and the Sangha (a community of like-minded people); a balance of all three is necessary to fulfill a spiritual life.

To the right of the three central seated beings, I drew an empty abstract floating platform. Perhaps it was vacated by the meditator who preferred to sit on the floor instead.

It’s my habit to meditate on the floor with only a cushion beneath me, needing to feel as close to the ground as possible. Intellectually, I believe any attempt at meditation is positive, whether done in a chair, bed or standing. However, at a subconscious level, something compels me to sit as close to solid terrain as possible, where I feel grounded and stable.

Perhaps the platform is an open invitation for a guest to come visit. Sometimes I imagine the Buddha, a symbol for enlightened consciousness, sits near me. This positive force helps me attain a more peaceful and clear state of being while I mentally traverse the levels of meditation I enjoy.

A Unity of Three is featured in the Walter Wickiser Gallery’s current exhibit, Gallery Artists Part XX, celebrating twenty years of exhibition in this New York gallery. The exhibit opens June 21st. See it online at the Walter Wickiser website until September 21st: www.walterwickisergallery.com