A Life Expanded, Capella de Sant Roc

exhibition at Capella de Sant Roc, Valls, 2013

objects, drawings and texts by  Care Stie Totul (see below)

curated by: Jordi Antas

CARE STIE TOTUL was a Romanian mystic*, born in the region of Moldavia, in Atlantyda on Lake Tal’antys, certainly on the 21st of March, perhaps between 1295 and 1297, or c.1300. Sometimes also called Alltid’alla (Immer Schon in German), a name he adopted in his writings, Care Stie Totul died at Ulmu Mic on the 25th January of 1366.

Stie Totul wrote the story of his inner life (generally referred to as The Little Book of Truth) and revised the The Little Book of Eternal Wisdom (Cartea înțelepciunii eterne). At some point during his later years, around 1361-3, he published these works, together with eleven of his letters.The collection of drawings on view are original illustrations from both of these works. One of the main principles in his practice and teaching was: to die, before you die. In order to do do this, the drive of the ‘lower soul’, the ‘tyrannical ego’ (an-nafs al-ammara) has to be fought in such a way that it can transform into positive characteristics. In this way, different stations are overcome, the highest of all being ‘pure soul’ (an-nafs al-safiya).

Mysticism, as Stie Totul understood it, means to possess nothing and to not be possessed by anything. Another very important aspect in his teachings is that truth cannot be intellectually comprehended, but has to be experienced. In the book Philosophia Perennis by Maren Mitshliebeskind, the following principles of Stie Totul’s work are schematically described:

Never obey anyone’s command unless it also comes from within you.
There is no God other than life itself.
Truth is within you,do not search for it elsewhere. Love is prayer.
To become nothingness is the door to truth.
Life is here and now.
Live wakefully.
Do not swim—float.
Die each moment so that you can be new each moment. That which is,is.Stop and see.

*Mysticism (Greek:μυστικός mystikós;mysterious) is the pursuit of communion with,or identity with,or conscious awareness of,an ultimate reality,divinity,spiritual truth,or God,through direct experience,intuition,instinct,and insight. Mysticism usually revolves around practices intended to nurture those experiences.
Many mystics believe that you can find fundamental truth in every religion,and that all religions are the same in their essence.Hence mysticism isn’t bound to any religion but stands aside and free of it.