The Heaven is Now! video features people building stone pagodas throughout the United States. The video was part of an installation at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago that also included along a gallery of stones of all shapes and sized where people built their own pagodas and benches for meditation.
Art is a way for us, both as creators and viewers, to transcend. The several months that I worked on Heaven Is Now! was a time of transcendence. I was able to be one with the work, to be in it, rather than approach it from the outside, from the intellect. The video portion of Heaven Is Now! begins with footage of myself building a stone pagoda on the Northern California coast. Completely letting go of my while building these pagodas was a new way of working for me. In the past I have tried to exercise a degree of control over what the finished work would look like; how would all the elements come together to make a piece that is resolved. I let go of all of this with Heaven Is Now! This work is about the bliss of creating, in the moment of creating. When I first sat down and viewed the footage of myself building the pagoda I immediately noticed that I was smiling throughout the piece. I did not realize this at the time, although I remember being content and happy. Over many years of spiritual work I have slowly discovered that when we consciously experience every moment of our lives Heaven is now. While we cannot control all of the circumstances in our lives, we can and do choose how to be on the planet. For me, being aware of, and taking responsibility for this choice, has been liberating and is, in part, what allowed me to let go of everything when I was creating this work.
Building individual stone pagodas is an activity that is practiced by Korean Buddhists, who also believe that heaven is not a destination but a way of being. With each pagoda that they build they say a prayer. In the gallery I invited visitors to let go of everything for a moment and create a stone pagoda, experiencing the bliss of working with nature and their creativity.