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See what is
Look through the eyes of the world's greatest painters
to expand your vision, liberate your mind,
and enter as a co-creator into the synergistic space of Art
SEE WHAT IS is a 7-week online art retreat.
It invites you to expand your vision, deepen your connection to Art, and transform your life through simple and joyful seeing practices.
Start any time. Forever access.
Do you know this extraordinary experience of profound seeing...
… described by Aldous Huxley as seeing, moment-to-moment, the miracle of naked existence?
When the mind falls silent, and there are no boundaries between your inner space and the outer world, so that — in Paul Cezanne’s words — nature mirrors itself, thinks itself within you?
Or — in William Blake’s words — your doors of perception are cleansed, and you see everything as it is, infinite?
All colours are suddenly brighter, more luminous, and the familiar three-dimensional space and linear time dissolve into their fluid, infinite vibrations…
Perhaps you have had this experience within your own creative process, or when your eyes were suddenly cleansed by a work of art — a painting, a poem, a piece of music?
Or this peak experience would wash over you as though from nowhere, as a gift, as a touch of grace?
I don’t shut my eyes,
I don’t close my ears,
I don’t mortify my body;
I see with open eyes and smile
And see His beauty everywhere.
But then this vision would disappear, replaced by the familiar, ordinary picture of the world...
It's not your fault. It's the brain’s powerful unconscious mechanisms of visual processing kicking in...
These mechanisms are here for a purpose: they create a familiar and coherent reality for you, to help you orient yourself in the complex world, to feel in control, to survive.
- To create this familiar picture, your brain relies on the wealth of your past experiences — but the side effect is that you live in the past, never fully present to what is, here and now.
- And it relentlessly filters out everything “inessential” — but the side effect is that the infinite richness and beauty of reality stays hidden from you.
These are fundamental mechanisms of vision, but they are also fluid, changeable, evolving.
And Art — the magnificent art of painting — has a unique capacity to help us in this evolutionary process.
As an artist, I’ve spent decades cultivating and refining my sense of vision...
But for a long, long time, the reality I saw from within the painting process and the usual, "normal" reality existed as though in different dimensions. In “normal” life, my "painting vision" would only break through as occasional glimpses, rare peak experiences of seeing (mostly after visiting museums, or reading something particularly beautiful and powerful).
Otherwise, I was living firmly “in my head” — an ordinary, “default” experience of seeing, so painfully different from what I knew was possible: the miracle of naked, fluid seeing opened to me by art, an indescribable reality beyond what the mind can comprehend.
But then my “painting” vision started to spill over into other moments of my life, and, day by day, and step by tiny step, it became my “new normal” — and transformed my life beyond anything I could have possibly imagined, opening not only my eyes, but my mind and my heart as well.
The secret, it turned out, is really simple — and open to anyone, whether or not you call yourself an artist.
— it is to simply see great paintings as insights into reality, into the true nature of things. To allow your eyes to open to the reality seen by Rembrandt, van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Chagall... the list is endless.
You allow you brain to integrate the visual experiences of greatest artists as though they were your own. You begin to see through the eyes of thousand artists, all at once.
I call this process “synergistic seeing”.
I explored and refined it for years, by witnessing it myself and sharing it with hundreds of other people. And now I know that it can open access to extraordinary, peak experiences of seeing in every waking moment to anyone who loves the art of painting.
This is why I invite you to join SEE WHAT IS
— a virtual synergistic seeing retreat designed to help you tap into the transformational power of art to expand your sense of vision and to get “out of your head” —
— into direct, sensory, moment-to-moment-to-moment, embodied experience of infinite beauty in the heart of all things.
And to do so effortlessly, almost imperceptibly, through tiny and joyful daily steps.
Synergistic seeing is not work, it's deep play. In the words of one of my students, Terrill Welch, it feels like an indulgence.
But at the same time, it helps you in the most important task there is: to be fully alive, to grow and evolve, to see what is.
To love life, flowing within you and around you, and see its beauty everywhere.
SEE WHAT IS guides you through a unique sequence of forty nine masterpieces of painting, which will help you see through some fundamental illusions of human vision.
There are seven weekly themes:
Week 1: Celebration
Explore and cultivate the inner experience of celebration — the fuel of transformation, the magical ingredient which makes any change effortless.
Seven great artists — from Raphael to Marc Chagall — will help you deepen and expand this experience, and set the stage for the transformation to come.
Week 2: Unity
Dissolve one of the fundamental illusion of vision, the illusion of separation, with the help of Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Pierre-August Renoir, and Vincent van Gogh.
Experiment with seeing practices which make this illusion disappear from your moment-to-moment seeing experience.
Week 3: Creating space
Witness how your mind creates the familiar visual experience of three-dimensional space — in painting and in real life.
This week’s masterpieces span four centuries, from Jan van Eyck to Gustav Klimt, so you can see three-dimensional pictorial spaces emerge and then dissolve into the infinite richness of colour.
Week 4: Mutual intercourse of colours
Explore the inner dimensions of colour with the help of Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne and Vincent van Gogh.
Learn to see the nuances of colour and light through their eyes and discover reality seen as pure colour vibrations.
Week 5: Shattering space and time
See through the illusions of three-dimensional space and linear time by entering multi-dimensional pictorial spaces of Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Vincent van Gogh, and Franz Marc.
Week 6: Self in space
Transcend the illusion of separate Self and fill your heart with infinite compassion, to yourself and to your fellow humans.
This week, you will be guided by geniuses of Rembrandt van Rijn, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh and Edouard Manet.
Week 7: Time-transcendence
Discover the experience of time-transcendence, the flow of all time present within every single moment of it, and the stillness that lies beyond it. From J.M.W.Turner to Pablo Picasso, from Pierre-August Renoir to Marcel Duchamp — this is going to be a breathtaking journey through time…
SEE WHAT IS is designed to be effortless, enjoyable, joyful, and transformational.
Here is what's included:
The theme of each week is introduced in a short video (about 10 minutes). It is also available as in the written form, for easy reference.
Daily masterpieces of painting to contemplate, plus suggestions for seeing practices and tiny action steps to help you integrate new seeing habits into the flow of your life.
In case you have any questions, or something doesn’t seem to work, there are optional weekly live Q & A calls (scheduled to accommodate all time zones), and a dedicated Q & A area on our online portal.
All materials are available to you forever on the online portal — so you can review them at any time.
So if you love the art of painting...
...but know you aren't fully tapping into its power to inspire you, to expand and transform your experience of life, your moment-to-moment experiential reality (which, by the way, is true for every single one of us, because this power is infinite).
If NOW is the right time for YOU
to expand and deepen the presence of art in your life
to practice the sublime art of seeing by seeing through the eyes of its greatest masters
to liberate your sense of vision, and your mind, from outdated limitations
to integrate Art’s greatest insights into your moment-to-moment experience of life and and its creative expression (whether or not it has anything to do with painting...)
then SEE WHAT IS has been created for you! You can start any time...
What would be the value of this transformation for you?
Only you can answer this question, but here is something very important I wish to tell you (before you decide)...
All too often, we frame our life experiences is in terms of results: we do one thing in order to (or "so that") we can do or have something else. This is the mind’s “go-to” method to lock us out from the present moment and prevent us from seeing its infinite and unique beauty.
But this is not how synergistic seeing works... (nor how anything in the realm of Art works).
SEE WHAT IS is not here (just) to give you results in the future, but to expand your experience here and now. The daily practices it invites you to play with are not for your future self, but for you.
It is not like a business trip you undertake in order to make a deal (or achieve some other business objective). It is like a journey you embark on simply to travel, to saunter, to see, with awe and gratitude, miracles of human spirit and wonders of nature.
But as you expand the presence of certain experiences in your life, they begin to transform your state of being.
If you paint a lot, you become a painter.
And if you consistently practice synergistic seeing, you become someone who is deeply, intrinsically, ever and forever, connected to the synergistic field of Art, across time and space, and always present to the sheer beauty of the world we live in.
There is no word yet invented for this state of being (at least not that I know of)...
But you know the question I am most frequently asked as an artist?
Here it is: "Where do you get your inspiration?"
The truth is, in this unnamed state of being, such a question cannot even arise, because the inspiration is always present.
And with that, now it's for you to decide...
My Promise to You
SEE WHAT IS invites you to make a commitment to daily contemplation of a painting masterpiece.
Basically, all you have to do is open your daily email and click the link to the painting of the day…
Open an email, click a link — something you do many times during the day anyway!
You open the painting, and inwardly celebrate this tiny success… this as easy as it sounds!
And this is what unlocks the miracle of synergistic seeing.
If this experience disappoints you, I will happily refund your payment in full.
Your guide for this journey
My name is Elena Maslova-Levin, I am an artist — but, first and foremost, I am a humble spectator, in awe, amazement, veneration of the whole evolutionary unfolding of great art through the eons of human evolution.
This ever-present, and intrinsically synergistic, field of art is what gives me my power as an artist.
In SEE WHAT IS, I invite you to liberate and expand your sense of vision through deepening your own connection to this field.