Japanese author Haruki Murakami in his last bestseller fiction novel, 1Q84, touched on the concepts of parallel worlds and wrote some simple, succinct lines which went like this — ‘…(when) you’re about to do something out of the ordinary, the everyday look of things might seem to change a little. Things may look different to you than they did before. But don’t let appearances fool you. There’s always only one reality.’
But, this Wednesday, if you happen to be at the Le Sutra Art Gallery, you will not be able to take the acclaimed author too seriously. US-based mentalist Gerared Senehi will bend wine glasses, remain immovable even if the strongest person in the crowd pushes him as he stands on one leg, move objects without touching them and tell you what you’re thinking before you could voice it. Not exactly the stuff of ‘reality’.
And Senehi will not do these things to merely amuse. “As a mentalist, my goal is to create an atmosphere where people appreciate the power of suspending our ideas, particularly about life and reality. I plan to spark openness and curiosity about bigger perspectives on life, in a way that my spiritual teacher, Andrew Cohen, can then share his vast cosmic view that we are all part of an evolving process,” he says in an email interview. Senehi will be accompanied by Cohen, the American spiritual leader, author and founder of the 1988 non-profit spiritual organisation, EnlightenNext.
Senehi says he uses any technique to perform these feats — from psychological manipulation to simply reading one’s body language. The idea, he explains, is to do something that challenges the fixed ideas we all have about ourselves and reality. “I relate to it as an art form that can be used as a metaphor for the fact that reality is much bigger than we realise and that it can’t be boxed into a specific framework. I hope my presentation can create a temporary disruption of normal ways of thinking in order to consider more expanded perspectives on life,” says Senehi. Cohen, adds Senehi, will turn to the audience (probably stumped by then, we’d think) and discuss how “we are part of a cosmic evolving process and that the individual is at the centre at the universe. “It helps us understand ourselves better, the cultural ideas and impressions that are shaping us, the obstacles we face, the new ways of looking we can apply, without ever losing touch with the explosive realisation of this grand process that is unfolding,” says Senehi.
This is not Senehi’s first visit to India. “I’ve been coming to India for the past 20 years with Andrew, but those trips were more to find spiritual retreats in the country.” During his first performance in the country, adds Senehi, he would like to explore the idea of an India “who knows a lot already, just like many countries around the world do.” Sorry? “I mean,” explains Senehi, “There certainly is an extraordinary sense of possibility about the future in India right now but it is focused on the material dimension. I’d like to see that sense of possibility revolve not only around economic growth, technological breakthroughs and revolutions in communications, but also about the innovation that can happen in our humanity, about the potential of bringing out even higher values and forms of culture than what we have here.”
Senehi also plans to debunk some myths when it come to releasing individual potential. “People think there is one static pre-defined purpose or goal. But this way, we close ourselves to the immensity and depth of meaning that is so much bigger than ourselves. The other hindrance is the relativistic approach that purpose is purely subjective and a matter of personal choice.” This, he explains, undermines the potential of a deeper meaning, creating the illusion that our choices are not related to the bigger meaning and evolution “coursing through the Universe.” “This ‘evolutionary’ perspective on meaning will make it possible to re-engage with questions of purpose and keep going deeper without the painful restriction of dogmatic approaches on one hand and moral relativism on the other,” he says.
At: September 18, 7.30pm, Le Sutra Art Gallery, Le Sutra — the Indian art hotel, 14 Union Park, Khar (W)