Often, I hear the word “timeless” as a positive review of a piece of art. Most of the time, I think the meaning of this phrase is used incorrectly. For instance, let’s say we are talking about a recording of a song. Generally, by issuing the phrase “timeless” the reviewer is inferring that the recording itself could be played at any period in time and would have the same relevance – sonically, emotionally, politically, etc. “That Creedence song sounds as good today as it did 30 years ago! It’s timeless!”
That’s not what the phrase means to me. A truly “timeless” piece of art is one that puts YOU, the “experiencer”, in a space without time. There is nothing else but the moment you are in right now. It actually removes past and present and envelopes you in the moment of the piece as it unfolds.
Of course, time is taking place while you experience the art present itself, but the duration is at the mercy of the piece.
Those are the pieces of art that I’m drawn to. There’s nothing to intellectualize about the creation. Is it a good piece? Is it a bad piece? Do I like the singer? Is the protagonist brave enough? Is there too much red?
I am IN the work or I’m not. And I FEEL it. I EXPERIENCE it. There are no judgments during, if the piece is capturing me.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you watch a film and as soon as you leave the theater, or perhaps the next day, you have so many questions? Well, why did he leave her? I wonder where the butler went? How did she know he would be there?
That’s because that silly, part of our mind that thinks it has all the answers, the part that is so insecure without it’s meddling, the part that can be so interruptive, has been quelled. Your deeper self’s thorough enjoyment of the piece has issued an involuntary “sshhhhhh…..”
I can tell that a piece of art is timeless by the reaction of my body. It actually slows down and is quieted. The belly relaxes, and creates a softness to absorb what’s surrounding me. I might be inspired and the creative part of me is spinning, but there is nothing hesitant or judgmental about the thought patterns. Only forward “yes”es. I’m immersed in the moment.
The next time you are listening to your favorite song, or reading a book, or watching a film, or standing with tired legs in front of the Raft of the Medusa after running around Paris all day – take a moment to feel into your body and notice how immersed you are.
Hopefully, if the art is for you, your experience will be similar to my friend T.D. Lind’s hopes, as he sings these encouraging words to his lover: “Let’s get lost.”