Soaring Vision — An All-around View of the Intangible Within and Beyond the Tangible

View from Anchorage’ (Oil painting on canvas by Alan Rayner, 2001) The grounded perspective of explicit landscape features from one direction is dwarfed by the all-round imagination that apprehends infinite space both inwardly and outwardly. What appear from a distance to be clouds above a local mountain summit are recognised from on high to be snow patches on a summitless peak.

Sometime during the 1990s I had a very powerful dream. I had been flown to Anchorage Airport, in Alaska (something I once did experience in real life on a return flight from Japan to the UK). I looked out of the airport window at distant mountains and tried to find Mt. Mckinley, the highest peak in North America. Sure enough I could pick out a distant snow covered peak. But as I looked, I realized that what I had taken to be clouds in a blue sky above this peak were snow patches on an enormous, summitless peak, looming behind it. I told this story to my mother as she lay on her death bed, and it seemed to bring her relief.

The dream, I felt, offered me a glimpse of the intangible infinite presence that both includes and is dynamically included in all tangible material form. In years to come I was to incorporate this vision into what I now refer to as the philosophy of ‘natural inclusion’. My painting, ‘View from Anchorage’ seeks to show how by relinquishing our attachment solely to material form, we can be inspired by an awareness of what resides within and beyond it.

For further explorations of natural inclusion, please feel free to view other essays on Medium and my personal website at http://www.spanglefish.com/exploringnaturalinclusion

Alan Rayner is an evolutionary ecologist, writer and artist, who is pioneering the philosophy of natural inclusion

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