I like to paint eyes. The eyes are the threshold between the inside and outside world. What goes on behind the eyes is the mystery and what unfolds in front of the eyes is the illusion. When looking into eyes it has been said that I am peering into one’s soul, and perhaps this is true, it is obvious, but what if I do not have eyes to see with? Or better yet what if the eyes I have are only seeing what they know, and therefore I am faced with the actuality that what I am seeing is only partially real. Is this reality? Do I really see things for what they are or is it my mind is projecting inside outwards in order to relate to the world I am in. Within the Buddhist tradition this is similar to maya, a concept referring to the deceptive nature of the ego and it’s perception of the material world and it’s forms, and the unenlightened being accepts this as the only reality. There is a variance of degrees of maya, according to one group from another, and therefore any kind of certainty seems futile. It has been my experience that when I see reality one way, my way, I experience suffering. In this state I remain in maya, and go through samsara, rebirth and suffering, over and over, karmic actions being the propeller flying me through a veil of existence. It is the ego that has been my greatest challenge. If I say I am artist, I have already built up a story based on the karmic action that all artists have built and this is the stigma of being an artist. Pair this with a person who thinks they know what an artist is, and subsequently they will say very cliche things about what is to be an artist, or what makes an artist an artist, and all of sudden I find myself caught up in a crazy game of semantics and sea of opinions, which is ultimately counter intuitive to just being an artist, and suffering artist syndrome is born. To renunciate the suffering artist, I have gone to various extreme methods to detach from ego, sometimes healthy and sometimes unhealthy. And each time a break free of ego I find that as soon as I detached I meet it at a new doorway, in one way or another. So where does that leave me, what is the actuality of my existence and how do I translate that into my practice, well in 2500 years or more, Buddhism has been working on the concept of enlightenment, offering a framework to break free of the chains of karmic action by prescribing precepts to follow that may or may not get me there, not to mention the confusion that exists between the various traditions, Buddhism and otherwise, Hinduism, Upanishads, Zen, etc. etc. Perhaps the modern day version is Quantum mechanics, perhaps it is Molecular biology or perhaps it is as simple as letting it all go and sitting under a Bodhi tree, I don’t know, and perhaps not knowing is the way, renunciation of ignorance and knowledge, the two extremes, and finding the middle way, that fits me, even if I am we. A philosophical journey that may or may never reflect the actual, so with that said I carry on, searching for peace of mind and freedom from suffering, mindful, with love and compassion as my tools to handle the frustrations and challenges that life brings, while reminding myself that uncertainty is where I want to be.