PRINT April 1973


I’d like to talk about the perfection underlying life
when the mind is covered over with perfection
and the heart is filled with delight
but I wish not to deny the rest.
In our minds there is awareness of perfection
when we look with our eyes we see it,
and how it function s is mysterious to us and unavailable.
When we live our lives it’s something like a race
—our minds become concerned and covered over
and we get depressed and have to get away for
a holiday.
And then sometimes there are moments of perfection
and in these moments we wonder why we ever
thought life was difficult.
We think that at last our feet are on the right path
and that we will not falter or fail.
We’re absolutely convinced we have the solution
and then the moment is over.
Moments of awareness are not complete awareness,
just as moments of blindness are not completely blind.
In moments of blindness when you meet someone
you know well,
they seem hardly recognizable,
and one seems even a stranger to one self.
These experiences of the mind are too quickly
passed over and forgotten,
although startling moments of awareness are never forgotten.
Seeking awareness of perfection in the mind is called
living the inner life.
It is not necessary for artists to live the inner life.
It is only necessary for them to recognize inspiration or to represent it.
Our representations of inspiration are far from perfect
for perfection is unobtainable and unattainable.
Moments of awareness of perfection and of that inspirations are alike
except that inspirations are often directives to action.
Many people think that if they are attuned to fate, all their inspirations will lead them toward what they want and need.
But inspiration is really just the guide to the next thing
and may be what we call success or failure.
The bad paintings have to be painted
and to the artist these are more valuable than those paintings later brought before the public.
A work of art is successful when there is a hint of perfection present—
at the slightest hint . . . the work is alive.
The life of the work depends upon the observer according to his own awareness of perfection and inspiration.
The responsibility of the response to art is not with the artist.
To feel confident and successful is not natural to the artist.
To feel insufficient,
to experience disappointment and defeat in waiting for inspiration
is the natural state of mind of an artist.
As a result, praise to most artists is a little embarrassing.
They cannot take credit for inspiration,
for we can see perfectly but we cannot do perfectly.
Many artists live socially with out disturbance to mind,
but others must live the inner experience of mind a solitary way of living.

Transcribed and edited by Lizzie Borden, December 1972.