top of page

"Paintings that Read my Mind & Poems that Read my Paintings". by Giora Carmi.

"Have you ever wondered about the value of art? Have you wondered about intuition? Have you asked about healing, growth, fulfillment, happiness, or the meaning of life? Have you always felt there is more to life than what meets the eye? Have you had experiences that were inexplicable in the usual way that we, humans, understand? Have you had a deep insight into the truth of who we are?


Many good people have already addressed these questions and issues and are quite a few established traditions and new voices that offer answers to them.?.


I have had three careers: Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Art Therapist. I use intuition through art in my work as an art therapist and as my preferred way to deepen my life experience.."


Giora Carmi.




In this interview, Giora Carmi, one of our highly esteemed collaborators, introduces us to his book "Paintings that Read my Mind Poems that Read My Paintings."


  1. Is the book about art therapy? And why do you think that art therapy is so important?


G.C. The book is about a spiritual practice that I do. So it is not about art therapy. But the approach was developed in the context of art therapy, to help people create deeper and more lasting changes in their lives, than the changes that regular ways of doing art therapy bring about. The usual ways of doing art therapy do not deviate from the psychological layer of our being. As long as we stay in the psychological layer, which is the thinking layer, there is a fundamental discomfort about life that we experience and cannot really get rid of. The only way to get rid of this discomfort is by connecting with our pure consciences, which are part of the source of all that is always with us. Art can do this connection. This is why the use of art is important, though there are also other ways to connect with this layer that do not involve art.


I think it will add clarity and depth if I tell how this approach came to be. Then I can explain how it works.


I was on a meditation retreat and had a session in which I switched to another realm. At the end of the session, words came back to me and this is what the words said:

“Now, that you have seen this, you know that it does not make sense whatsoever to do anything in this world that is not the most beautiful that you can.”

In a few years, I went to study art therapy and discovered that it only dealt with the psychological layer. When you only deal with the psychological layer, you never come to complete freedom from the psychological burdens. There will always remain some dissatisfaction to live with. I knew that art could go deeper than that and set out to find a better way to use art in therapy. The first time this new approach appeared was in a group therapy class. 


Every student who got the role of leading a group therapy session did the same thing: She stretched a big sheet of paper on the wall and instructed the other participants to work together on the same painting. And here is what I saw as a problem. The participants, wanting to be helpful to the group, sacrificed being true to themselves and focused on trying to fit in with the others. In this way, they created a tendency to neglect their authenticity. There is no way to evolve when you disregard your inner truth. 


To remedy this I made a different exercise: 

People worked in pairs.


The first of them made a step  in The art and gave the paper to their friend to do another step. In this way they moved the paper between them about seven to ten times. And here is what was meaningfully different. When each of them had the paper, they had to treat it as if it was theirs alone and only painted what was for them the most beautiful thing that they could do to satisfy themselves. (Here is how the idea of beauty came into the practice of self-change.) Do not care about the other, I told them. Do only what you can do for your personal taste is the most beautiful thing in the painting.


Concentrating on their sense of beauty made them connect with their true selves. Beauty is the language of the truth. The true self is together with us always, and a connection with it is possible. Intuition is another aspect of the true self, and the participants became intuitive as they worked on the painting. Also, wanting to be true to their sense of beauty, they paid very close attention to what was on the paper already, and in this way connected very deeply with each other. And magical things happened. They started to feel each other as if they were telepathically connected. As an example, If one just thought about the sea, without even painting it, the other painted fish. 


 Beauty is the language of the truth.

The painting looked beautiful to both of them, and they felt very good because they were honest with themselves. They were authentic.


"Now"


This showed everybody that it is possible to be together and do things together while being true to themself. Only good things happened during the process. Both participants loved it. And the thought that was offered was: would you like to try live your normal, day-to-day life in this way?


The painting looked beautiful to both of them, and they felt very good because they were honest with themselves. They were authentic.


This way of doing things can be transferred to any other art form, and there are indeed other ways of helping people be authentic. 


Art therapy has other advantages, like the fact that what was done authentically in the session remains on paper as a document that can be referred to later. 







2."The hero of the moment is the inner witness, also called awareness", you wrote in your book. Can you explain to us why is awareness so important?”


G.C. Awareness is a higher state of consciousness that is stronger than thinking and all of the thinking's derivatives, like memory, logic, assumptions, conclusions, and so on.


If you expose thoughts to awareness, they cannot survive in that higher frequency and they dissolve. It also has to do with the fact that most thoughts come from worry about the safety of our bodies.


Awareness is the natural state of who we are, which is wisdom and love and includes joy, curiosity, playfulness, beauty, truth, and maybe more.

Awareness is the natural state of who we are, which is wisdom and love and includes joy, curiosity, playfulness, beauty, truth, and maybe more. So if we want to change, meaning to change our thoughts and beliefs so that our life will change, we can expose our thoughts to awareness, and they will dissolve. This cannot be done with thoughts alone. If we expose our thoughts to other thoughts, the original thoughts may change into new ones. But this change is not strong and not stable. The old thoughts will come back when a situation calls for them. This is the significance of awareness. 


Awareness has many levels and the higher levels have more power to change us.

To expose thoughts to awareness means that we see how our thoughts happen, we can watch how they change and we can even see them disappear. We can do all these only if we do not identify with the thoughts. And not to identify with the thoughts means that we are in awareness.


I describe the state of being aware:


'Experiencing with our consciousness instead of experiencing through thinking.'


'Experiencing with our consciousness instead of experiencing through thinking.'

3. Can you explain more deeply why you consider that the ultimate function of art in our life is to show us our inner feelings and the connection with the events we live in?


G.C. I don't think so. But I do think that the ultimate function of art is to connect us with our true selves, meaning with love, beauty, truth, joy, playfulness, and curiosity. Art also takes us on a trip to the experience of being infinite.

And by making this connection with consciousness we help create positive change in people's lives. 


I remember how, in the evening of the day in which I left Israel and flew with my family to the US, our best friends came to say goodbye. We were after three nights without sleep, as there was so much that we needed to do. They saw how exhausted and worried we were and took us to a little cafe in a nearby town. We had coffee and cakes and we chatted. This took us out of our worried mood and prepared us very well for the big shift in our life that was coming. In the same way looking at art or even better, making art, can take us out of the usual worried thinking state into a wider, softer, more relaxed safe, and loving state.


But it is true that in my method of using visual art and writing, I do use making art as a way to get in touch with the 'direct consciousness experience' of the moment, and art when done intuitively, is very good at this. 


As an example, a person who came to work with me made a drawing of an apple placed on a table. There was something a little strange about the drawing: around the apple, there was a white unpainted border. I saw in it a wish that the apple will not have any contact with its environment. When we talked about it, it turned out that the apple symbolized the person who painted it. She lived in a small place with many other people and she did not want to be that close with them. More than that, she started to develop allergies, as for her it became very unpleasant to have her body be so close to anything. When making art intuitively, it reveals the person's state of mind very easily, if we know how to 'read' the art.


4. "Our thoughts are the drivers of our energies"....what represents energy in our lives? 


G.C. The first thing that represents energy is thought itself. Consciousness, which is what we are, needs energy in order for thought to be created. We can even experience this, that thinking takes some effort. Let's look at another way. Let's imagine that we want to move one step forward. First we think and imagine the step. Then we start to move our body parts, which is also a use of energy. And then we balance ourselves and stand. In this way we used energy to move our body. It can be much more mysterious.


Let's say, I start to have an urge to play the piano. The thought does not leave me. I start listening to piano music all the time and I imagine myself playing. I don't have a piano, and I don' have enough money to buy one now. But I keep thinking and imagining myself playing the music that I have been listening to. One day my neighbor knocks at my door. He tells me that he is leaving his house for a year, and he does not want to leave his piano in his empty house. Can I take in the piano for a year? And suddenly I have a piano to play. Energy was influenced by thoughts, and the influence was beyond the body.

The body itself is created by thought patterns, in a much higher state of consciousness. These thoughts repeat themselves  very fast and the energy that they generate creates the body again and again repeatedly. The body appears and disappears, appears and disappear. It happens very fast and we do not see it with the eyes that we have. The eyes that we have are created in this same way too, so they cannot see the process by which they come into being. Many times we develop patterns of thoughts that are inharmonious with other thoughts that we have. This creates a disturbance in the flow of energy and if this goes on consistently, sickness may form. This too is how energy appears in our life. 

Many times we develop patterns of thoughts that are inharmonious with other thoughts that we have

We are consciousness, which is full of the potential to become anything. In order to create itself into things it needs energy, and things that are created are energy in different configurations and movements. And the instruments with which to form the different shapes and life movements, are our thoughts and imagination. This is quite miraculous.

.

"As it is in this world"


5. The book is very beautiful as you have included all the paintings you did in four months. Can you explain a little bit about the process you follow?


I let awareness, which is consciousness, to be impressed by the movements of energy in my body. These are my experiences of what I go through in my life at the moment, and of my reactions to these happenings. Every energy that is alive and active at the moment may appear in the art. It appears metaphorically. Not concretely. Sometimes something half-representational may show up. This is what the drawings in the thick lines do. Just by doing this I become more peaceful open and accepting. My interest when I paint is in making things beautiful for me, and in fulfilling my curiosity about what is really happening right now in my experience. I shift my focus, in this way, by letting awareness do the watching, from being a part of the drama of life to being an uninvolved watcher. Actually it is not right to call awareness uninvolved. It is involved from a different point of view. Awareness comes with love, acceptance, wisdom and more. It does not get lost in the stories of the thought processes. 


Then I do the areas of color. 


Because I am in a calmer and more accepting place already when I start the color areas, it is done from a somewhat higher frequency, or higher consciousness, and the approach is already more loving and accepting than even the first stage. It is as if someone who is even more loving than before is responding to my first step. I stop the art when I feel that adding anything will make the painting less beautiful. 

Then I do a reading of the art. I see what is happening in it. What tendencies are there? What seems to be working together and what contradicts? What is the character of the lines, the areas of color, the spaces? Do any shapes jump up as something that spontaneously reminds me of something? etc. And because I naturally think in short sentences and rhythm is important to me, and because I care about beauty, spontaneously it becomes a poem. Beautiful results happen not only to me but to every person who engages in this practice. I have seen it many times with the people who worked with me. 


Awareness comes with love, acceptance, wisdom and more. It does not get lost in the stories of the thought processes. 

This text helps me know what was going on in my consciousness, and how it felt. If it did not feel good, a tendency is formed to let it go. This is how this process serves as a way to change. The change is, generally, to let go of everything that is not the pure consciousness. And the result is that I come closer and closer to be my pure consciousness.


And the result is that I come closer and closer to be my pure consciousness. This is the aim. 


6. "When a person paints, many memories are touched and some of the unhappy beliefs are provoked." Is this good or bad?


Whether it is bad or good depends on what you do with these memories. If I am in a thinking realm then I may start to identify with these bad memories and strengthen 

Their power to grab my attention and to become influential on my behavior. But if I expose them to awareness, through this process or in any other way, and there are indeed other ways to do it, then I am weakening the influence of these bad memories on me and I become free of their power. 


7. I am very interested in the concept you have described here " ...this direct experience of how feeling bad feels, in comparison with feeling good, becomes the motivation of self-change". Why do you think this process is done inside us?

 

The inner world of energetic movements and encounters can be quite confusing, if you are in the state of thinking. It is the state of thinking in which unpleasant thoughts can happen and mostly, because many thoughts feel tense , worried or afraid, it is hard to decipher a fearing, sad, confused thought. But when we are associated with awareness, we feel clearly better. And being in a better feeling state makes it easy to detect thoughts that do not feel good. When you feel good and experience a bad feeling thought, it is natural and spontaneous to choose to let go of the sad thought and to choose instead to be in a better state. It is like choosing to travel through a more scenic road and have more beautiful views.


8. Can you explain the meditation connection with the question "Who am I?”

The issue of meditation arises as a way to find the answer to the questions: Who are we? And what is life about? 


We can read about these and find different answers that other people had found. But knowing intellectually does not create a qualitative change in people's lives. We want to get such a good knowing of the answers that our lives will change for the better permanently.


We know who we are. We are consciousness that is part of the divine. and we have energy to make it possible for us to create. When we create we change our circumstances and we have experiences that end up changing us. 

Meditation is a way that we use to experience being who we are. Since we use words for almost everything that we do, many meditations use words too. The meditation on the question Who Am I? Is considered to be one of the more direct methods. It has to do two things in order to be useful. It has to take the meditator up the vibrational scale, so he becomes more peaceful, more loving etc, just by doing the meditation. And it has to answer the question Who Am I? 


Climbing the vibrational scale happens by focussing only on the question, which lets all other concerns fall off from our attention. The mind becomes peaceful, and this makes us climb the scale. Keeping asking the question keeps the question in focus, and leads, eventually, to bringing the answer to us. What is important is not the intellectual knowledge, but the experience of being our true self. To  explain the true self is impossible. But to be the true self is possible. It may sound strange, but this is how it is.


Now when we paint, depending only on our unique sense of beauty, the experience of beauty, our curiosity and what feels true at the moment, also makes us go up the vibrational scale. These are characteristics of the true self, and using them takes you up. If you love making art you experience this love too, which adds another reason to going up that scale. Once you become totally absorbed in the art making, you are your true self. so this process does the same thing as the meditation. And because you are doing something that you love, meditating in this way becomes very easy. You also want to do it more because you love it. So there are many benefits to this approach.



9. In the book every painting has a poem. How do you connect both things, which is the process you follow to link the picture with the words?


G.C. There are three stages. I start with the painting, doing at first the heavy line drawing. This is like diving in the ocean where there is a reef, to see what is there. Are there many fish or a few? Are they big or small? What colors do they have? Who does what to whom? Are they friendly? Do they fight? And it is also like starting to compose a piece of music by placing the main tunes in place first.


Then, as I start to be a little familiar with what is there, I start to add the harmony that I want the tunes to go with. The whole process is playful. I almost do not think at all. I just 'listen' to my sense of beauty, and to how true everything that I do feel. It is also a little bit like a research, based on subtle feeling. What else does the painting want? Is something missing? Does it feel correct and like what I feel?


So these two steps are like working on the same composition from two perspectives. The first is more from the personality side, as it is viewed with the help of awareness. The second view is more from the bigger consciousness that we are part of. So there is more wisdom and love in that. I also ask: What else can be seen around the main event? How far does the scene go? Maybe it is only a small part of a much bigger scene?


The second view is more from the bigger consciousness that we are part of

I work like this until I feel that this painting is finished. This is a strange thing, but you can really feel that a painting is finished. You know that if you will add anything to it, it will become  too much burdened with unnecessary details. You also feel as if a question that you had in you, even if you did not express it, has gotten a good answer. A 'Give And Take' of some sort has taken place. The deeper part of you, that usually is hard to speak with, has spoken. It knew what you were looking for, and it has given you a good, loving, supportive answer. Supportive- in what way? Supportive for your evolution.


Now it is time to read the art, with its two steps, so that I'll know what this deeper, infinite part of me has said. Reading the art can be done in different ways. You can simply describe in words what you had just done before without thinking. For example, you can say: there is a horizon line that is very hilly and looks far away. Or you can say:there is something that looks like the trunk of a big tree. It starts under the bottom of the paper and goes up prominently in soft movement and colors that are very close to each other. Every one of these descriptions is relevant to the emotional story that this painting tells. If you collect enough signs like these, you start to have a story that you know that it is indeed a part of your current life.



If you collect enough signs like these, you start to have a story that you know that it is indeed a part of your current life.

There are other ways to collect information from the art. The important thing is that the whole process is not intellectual but experiential. And that it is done from the perspective of evolution and therefore contributes to evolution. Where does evolution go? It goes back to what we have always been, what we have come from into this human life, and lost our way back.



10. Which is your favorite one, can you describe one that has touched you more than the rest?


There are a few of them and it is hard for me to choose. But one clear thing stands out and it is the fact that all those that I love more have to do with an experience of who I am. I chose one for this answer. It is "Now" on page 67. I like it because it touches on the experience of what "I" is. It is difficult to define the "I". The person who is supposed to live in my body, the one with my history, my successes and failures, the one with the specific talents, and that one who is lucky or not, that one, I know, does not exist. It seems that there is someone like this in my body, but with a little investigation you can find that he is just a collection of thoughts patterns and beliefs. There is only one "I" that I can be sure is here, and this is the "I" of everything, the big "I" of all. But there is the free will that is given to someone. This one keeps making choices all the time, and these choices determine the experiences that he will have. Who is that? Where is he? Is he the same every time? Does he have a shape?, a place? A vibrational level? It is a mystery. But something can be experienced about this, and this poem expresses such an experience for me.


11. Golden Tears is one of my favorites. Can you describe your feelings when writing these lines, please,



In the open air

Our garden grows

Married 

To a trauma

 

But we know 

Don't we

Every morsel of this scene

is made of gold.

 

"Golden Tears"



There is a trauma in this poem and art. On the psychological level we look at trauma as a source of a lot of suffering, and as something that with much love and understanding, maybe we can overcome and have a happier life as a result. But from a developmental perspective trauma can be something that we create for ourselves, to bring us deeper and closer to the truth of who we are, so that we can get rid of a big impediment in our psyche and make ourselves ready to meet another depth of the truth about who we are.


My father was killed in the war of independence in Israel when I was only four years old, and somehow, with the  way I managed to understand his death as part of my own concerns at that age, it became a very big trauma for me. It had influence on all my life and only in recent years I started to have a handle on how to understand it in a beneficial way. Part of this understanding is that everything in our world is made of the consciousness and energy of the divine. These two are the stuff from which everything is made. There is nothing else anywhere. And as such it is as sweet as can be. The ones who play with this essence, create traumas and happy stories are us, the humans. It is hard to see, but it is so. We make the stories to help us evolve. So from a very wide perspective, how can anything be sweeter than this?


The ones who play with this essence, create traumas and happy stories are us, the humans.

When we have trauma,  changes happen in the patterns of movement of the energy in the body and this creates disease.


For many years I thought that just knowing this is enough for the physical results of trauma to change. Today I know that we need to learn how to change these patterns of movement of the energy, for the physical results of the trauma to change. Nevertheless, it is still wondrous how all of it is nothing but the essence of the divine as it appears in infinite forms. This is what this poem is about.

, ¿cómo puede haber algo más dulce que esto?


11. I would like to use this book with a person who is ill, and I am sure this will be good for her, how can you advise us to use it? Maybe reading the poem and sharing our thoughts about every picture we like most?


I have a deep belief in the heart. When an idea comes from the heart, I trust that it is good. Therefore I trust in what you think about how to use the book. 


But I'll add. I think that it is beneficial for the person who needs the healing to not only read or listen, but to also write. I think that person may want to think through writing about what the poems mean to her, whatever thoughts arise in her. She can write about imagined conversations between her and her ill part. She may want to write about her trauma, if there is one, how it had affected her life, what did it prevent and what did it create. She may invent conversations between body parts. She may write about what is important for her in her life, as it is. Maybe, what wishes that she has contradict each other.

And she may try to create art of any kind and 'read' it for herself. What does her art show her?


She may write her dreams and see if, metaphorically, they point in any direction.

She may think that she is the consciousness and energy of Source. How would she live her life, if this was what guided her? Maybe she does already?

And I believe it can help to work with someone who has experience in healing from what science does not believe is possible.


And I want to say that what we do does not have to be something big and dramatic. Sometimes small things, a tiny Change in behavior or even thinking can have a big effect. And there is no need to do many things. Just those few ones, or even one only, that speaks to her the most.


It helps a lot to learn how to go up on the vibrational scale. For most people meditation is the thing that does it. When you are higher with your vibrations, you are more powerful and more capable of making changes. But meditation has to be something that she likes. Not a chore. She has to find her way to do it because she likes doing it. This, of course, only if she wants to do it.


13. Can you explain the meaning of the colors and their connection with the words, if there are one if they have one? do the colors match with some words rather than others?


In my case, the colors work by what they do together. They are important to me,  but they get their meaning, like everything else in a composition, from the relationships that they have with each other, with the background, with their shapes, etc. are they close to each other or are they different? Are there many areas of the same color or is it just one spot among other colors.

Something happens to me within my energy system, when the composition is perceived, and in that direct experience of my energy system lies the meaning of the colors and of everything else, like the shapes,  similarities and differences, the different groups that form, etc. So for me colors don't come with a pre-determined meaning. More than that, the meaning keeps changing as I work on the painting because all the relationships in the painting are changing until the process ends. 


14. Please, share any thoughts or ideas you feel are interesting for our readers and audience.


If I wanted to add anything to what I had already said, it would be: Set yourself up for the long run. Nothing ends now. We continue without an end, as far as I know. There will be more and more. The trip towards living with more happiness never stops. 


Finding the direction is finding what feels the best thing to do now. Always watch for this. Improve how you feel by what you choose to do now. It is always about doing what really feels best at the moment, in a deep and wonderful way. The guidance is available all the time. Reality is speaking to you. And the way you know how to understand what reality says is by watching for how you feel inside of yourself. Watch subtly. See the tiny energetic movements inside of your body. Do they feel good? Well then, this is where you have to go. "Have to" is not the right expression. There is nothing that you have to do. But you do have the choice always. And you can choose to do what moves you in the most beautiful way now. It is impossible, maybe, to know much more than this. But this is enough. And you will be supported. All that you need to follow your bliss will be given. This is where the system wants you to go.


It is always about doing what really feels best at the moment, in a deep and wonderful way













Commentaires


bottom of page