Line | Align | Realign

Who are you? The Koshas are a philosophical model of identity originating in South India, in which the self is viewed as made up of layers not unlike an onion. The outer layer is how we identity ourselves through objects. Next is our body and how what we do identifies who we are. Traveling inward, we see the knowledge layer, followed by our deepest held beliefs. At the center of one’s self is the creative force of the universe, which could be described as the breath of God, the divine light or simply a creative power depending on your personal belief system.

Through each of these layers, run lines of understanding that provide a skeleton framework of support. These lines change over time. In my 20’s I could lift hundreds of pounds. Today my physical therapist has forbidden me to lift anything heavier than a few books, while recovering from a back injury. The line of youthful invincibility has been broken.

We tend to identify with some layers more than others as we move through life. Perhaps it’s your first car, or first full-time job that defines who you are. Perhaps it’s a belief system that you were raised with or one that you are discovering now for the first time. One line ends, and another begins.

There are moments in life when these layers and lines fuse into one reality. It may be the loss of a job, or a death in the family that compresses everything that we know, feel and believe into awareness. At times, experiences may burn holes in our layers and disrupt the line. Do factory conditions in China have an influence on my desire for Apple products? If I define myself through my profession, what happens when I lose my job?

The light sculptures, the Koshas, provide a visual tool for us to examine our own identity and the lines that define who we are, how we think, and what we believe in. Are we transparent or opaque? Are the lines rigid and straight, or have they swayed over time in response to life? How bright does the light within us burn? – Terrill Thomas