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Art and OptimaLearning
Letting Aesthetic Beauty Work Its Magic

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Mondrian poster
Piet Mondrian:
Composition with Color Areas

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by Jeffrey Miraflor

Editor's note: Jeffrey took a personalized training with Dr. Barzakov which included using OptimaLearning® to deeply understand art and to use it to improve his learning skills in computer science and other subjects at a community college level. Before this training he had never been to Fine Arts museums and he could not, like so many people, relate at all to paintings, sculpture or art in general.

I was sitting in Dr. Barzakov's kitchen drinking my tea. We had just finished a session on the impact of Diego Velasquez' paintings on the mind of the spectator. We had also discussed the possible implications of using paintings (reproductions) to more easily comprehend technical subject matters. The effects of the art were still with me. Then suddenly, something strange happened.

Although Dr. Barzakov continued to address me directly, I realized that for the moment I was not paying attention to exactly what he was saying. For some reason, my attention was diverted to his kitchen counter. Strewn on the surface were what you would expect: pots, used dishes, and glasses. Nothing unusual. But for whatever reason, I couldn't help but stare at all those dishes. It wasn't because the dishes were dirty or anything — that had nothing to do with it. I was now looking at those dishes as if I was staring at art.

My mind was entranced with the different shapes and colors in front of my visual perception. They didn't appear to be the ordinary objects one finds in everyone's kitchen. They were more than that. I saw the aesthetic beauty of shapes, colors, and even their placement on the countertop. And with my mind I was trying to reshape them the same way a sculptor chisels away at a stone block. A thousand suggestions bombarded my mind on how I would reposition those dishes in order to generate the optimal effect on my senses. I also took into consideration the way the sunlight cast its shadows on some, while at the same time highlighting others. Though this all sounds complicated, it really wasn't. I just had a sense of how things should be - of what felt right and what didn't.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now I know that is true. You can write volumes about the mysteries of the universe or you can show a snapshot of a galaxy. You can spend 10 years in medical school learning about the human body or you can watch the birth of a newborn and witness for yourself the miracle of life.

In nature, everything appears in its natural order-WHOLE. As scientists we take everything apart, break it down into its subatomic parts and try to explain how everything connects together. We can explain how one part is a system in and of itself, but explaining how everything works together with everything else is an almost impossible task because we just have too much information to put together, and too many unanswered questions.

An artist cannot express in scientific terms what he sees in his mind, but he can grasp the whole and express it in his art. Great artists all have this sense of something wholesome being there. They don't try to analyze it; they just let its natural expression come out. Through their art they find answers to the universe. A simple sculpture of curves and lines may look weird to some people, but with the right mind a person can see the most complex mathematical equations working in harmony together. Through art (and not enough people appreciate art but buy it only for its investment return) you can improve your mind to think in complex patterns.

So how do we do that?

When you look at an art object, let your mind be imbued with its aesthetic beauty. Don't try to analyze it. Just look at it. Whether it's a painting or sculpture doesn't matter. Just stare for a while. And as you stare, let the colors or shapes affect you. Let the subtlety of colors and shapes work their magic on your mind. You will begin to sense something because your brain is always trying to make sense of things whether you realize it or not. That's the subtlety of art and that's what we need to get in touch with again. Slowly a pattern will appear spontaneously in your mind of how the colors and patterns are interconnected to form a feeling or a sense of something newly discovered. Dr. Barzakov calls this technique in OptimaLearning interpretation of art Dancing with Perception®

What then are the long term benefits of OtptimaLearning? Over time you become much more creative. Then maybe you will write more because the release of creative energy needs to be expressed. Other benefits include reading a complex document and then taking a break. Spontaneously you will get an image in your head where you will see how everything suddenly makes sense. A picture emerges and suddenly you understand everything.

Art works on your mind in the same way except you are looking at the whole picture first, then later on you get the explanations. I look at art, any kind of art, and I stare for hours. I see or sense hidden messages that the artist left in his work for others to discover. Looking at art is like looking into the mind of a genius. You sense the complex processes that went into his or her creations. In time, as your mind is exposed, it becomes entrained to think in similar patters. That is why suddenly you find yourself very creative or able to grasp complex parts and see them wholistically as a picture. Returning mentally to Dr. Barzakov's kitchen, I remember now that ordinary objects suddenly appeared more beautiful. Everything became beautiful. But even more importantly, I could sense order. It was like being an interior decorator. A few objects placed correctly had more effect than a room full of antiques.

As I looked at the kitchen counter, my mind was rearranging the objects. Sometimes it was changing them into different shapes or forms, and sometimes it was repositioning them. I felt a thousand ideas flood my mind on how I wanted to recreate them. And each one was unique and different. It was like turning a kaleidoscope. The same objects needed just a slight turn to form new and complex patterns.

Through Dr. Barzakov's training, art stays with you even when you are no longer looking at it. It is in your mind. The beauty of art infiltrates your life making everything more beautiful.

For example, take a complex mathematical equation. If you try to memorize it directly, it is pretty boring. But you can transform it with art to make it more beautiful and more interesting by seeing this equation as a picture. What is this equation about? What does it explain? See the picture or the end result first. Sense the order and the beauty of its logic.

Nature is so complex but you don't see its complexity like a scientist. No, you see it as beauty. Walk in a forest or walk along the beach and feel the beauty and calmness permeating your whole being!

San Francisco, California

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