The Path to Enlightenment

This project was created during my stay in Alibag in India in 2013 as part of artist-in-residency program.  After a few days in this picturesque town, I decided to make a photo project about the elements that I felt so much while meditating. I wanted to show the symbolic development of my personality through experiencing them. The bounding part that brought all the scenes together was a 30-meter long red fabric (each meter represent one year of my life). These photos are only documentation of the actions, because the deep meaning and an impact of this work was actually in the experience of its creation.

The first element was the Earth-Prythivi. Wrapped in the material, I froze like in a cocoon, waiting for a further metamorphosis. Earth is a strongly transforming element related to matter, with everything that is solid in our body (structure, bones, muscles, limbs). In my planetary system, the energy of this element affects me the least. What is visible in the lack of rooting in one place or my inability to adapt to life in accordance with social norms. This meditation in a cocoon, in which the temperature was rising with every minute, was for me a kind of breeding ground for new ideas, the essence of life, which is also represented by the egg symbol.

Prythivi, performative action, Alibag, India 2013.

Another element that I experienced was Water- Jal, symbolizing not so much feeling as exploring the sphere of the subconscious, hence the fabric emerges from the sea, stretching across the beach and enveloping my entire figure. We are inextricably linked with our subconscious, it is there that this mythical Leviathan, one of the manifestations of our shadow, lies. Water fills us with blood and all body fluids. The Moon is inseparably connected with it because it regulates the ebb and flow of the seas and oceans, influences the menstrual cycle and the formation of all life forms.

Jal- performative action, Alibag, India 2013.

After meeting the energy of Water, was the time for the Fire energy. Agni is the element that guides my life in the strongest and most spectacular way. In European astrology, 7 of my planets are placed in fire signs, which often causes enormous amounts of energy, a willingness to explore, expand and act, but poorly distributed causes many aggressive behaviors. To experience the element of fire, I sat down asana keeping the fire mudra on the third solar plexus chakra. I was sitting in the circle that Rajesh set in fire.

When the circle of fire closed, I suddenly felt the power of this energy…. I have never sat on fire before, and although in India such a seen always drastic, but known in the ritual of cleansing in the god Agni and self-immolation (Buddhist rituals), the sati ritual (burning widows), made the viewers deeply speechless.
The fire just exploded, I didn’t see it, or the more I felt it was happening, the blast of wind broke the fires of fire that lashed the exposed parts of the body, causing terrifying pain. Under such conditions, it was difficult for me to remain in meditation. But for a few seconds, stretching into eternity, I tried to maintain a dialogue with myself and face the primal fear of fire a fear of death.

Fear awakened my survival instinct, which ultimately made me run. I got up, the fire was slowly calming down, Rajesh said that everything was fine and that I should sit down because he did not take pictures due to the impression. I sat down, the whole action was repeated. I was in a trance and literally I needed to be carried on, trembling. The rest of the crowd started hugging me, congratulate me, and finally a big party was organized that day, heavily sprinkled with alcohol. It was the day I had finished my resolve to drink and we smoked  peace pipe together. The next day I was still very dazed, my burns miraculously disappeared after a night of yogurt pounding them.

Agni- performative action, Alibag, India 2013.

Another element is Vayu- Air. I made a costume out of all the fabric without cutting its length. Spin meditation is a known way for dervishes to achieve the state of liberation. Thanks to this, we tune in to the motion of the Universe, and we lose ourselves in a spiral motion completely. This experience was accompanied by great joy and smile; lightness and deep sense of freedom. States so different from the previous experience with the Fire.

Vaju- performative action, Alibag, India 2013.

The fifth and last element in Indian culture is Aether-Aakash, also translated as space. This is the most subtle energy, symbolizing the fourth dimension. You can experience it while immersed in deep meditation, where the body is no longer felt and the consciousness melts into Brahman. Therefore, in the last photograph of this series, I put only the fabric itself arranged in the form of a spiral-vortex, which, among others, in “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”, it serves as a portal to the final liberation or the next incarnation.

Aakash- Żywioł Przestrzeni, akcja performatywna, Alibag, Indie, 2013.
Aakash- performative action, Alibag, India 2013.