Nature of Mind - Alex Grey                                                                               1996, seven oil paintings on wood with sculpted gold leaf frame, 78 x 68 in.

“One morning, a series of seven visions flashed into my mind. As soon as I drew one image, another replaced it until I had drawn a complex seven-stage journey of a wanderer discovering the spiritual path, having an introduction to his own true nature, embodying that truth, and reentering society.

I spent the next year painting each scene and sculpted an unusual frame to hold the paintings. As I was working on the painting, a poem related to each panel came through me. The finished altarpiece, Nature of Mind, is my homage to the artists and wisdom masters of Tibet. The Tibetan Buddhist teachings known as Dzogchen were the inspiration for these visions.

In Dzogchen texts various symbols distinguish between the conceptual dualistic “mind” and the self-liberated, non dual “nature of mind”. The thoughts of the dualistic judging mind are symbolized as clouds that arise and dissolve in the open vastness of the skylike nature of mind. The mirror is also a potent tool for illustrating this distinction. The mirror reflects all things, beautiful or horrible, and the dualistic mind gets caught up in the reflections, judging what it likes and dislikes, becoming emotionally charged about relatively inconsequential matters. The Dzogchen teachings advise us not to identify with the passing reflections but to recognize that our true nature of mind is the mirror’s infinite capacity for reflection.”