Art and Spirit

gatesI’ve developed a stronger interest in art lately. I find that I do more drawing and I watch more documentaries on art history. I also notice there are more people in my world who are also interested in arts –music, dance, theater, or visual arts. I think we are part of a rising wave that signals the need for art to open our eyes and hearts.

At it’s best, art makes us see and feel in individual and creative ways. Art is a strong pathway to independent thinking, and living. It challenges our old ways of thinking and opens us up in amazing ways.

Good art should enable us to see more, be more, and feel more. We may think of art belonging in museums and concert halls but if we want to see life in a new ways, we need to remember that art doesn’t have to be bound by a frame.

The artist Christo, turned New York on its ear when he installed those 7500 flapping orange gates in Central Park back in 2005. It was in February, when the whole world was gray. It’s gray today and I’d love to look outside and see bright orange instead of dull grass and gray skies.

One critic wrote about The Gates, “…the best part of the installation was that all these habitually grim New Yorkers were walking around smiling and chatting with each other.”  She also said the installation was inspirational and that any art that can make New Yorkers smile in dead winter is great art. I agree.

Great art is great because it allows us to see things differently. Even more important, it demonstrates the human potential for creativity and for breaking the bonds of limited belief. It helps us visualize new and important experiences.

Creative visualization is easy. Imagine yourself in Central Park. You are about to step through a saffron-colored cloth gate. It is at least 18 feet tall and will open up new vistas of belief in your life. Just close your eyes and imagine you see the saffron colored flag flapping in your mind. Now duck through – into the place where dreams come true.

Ask yourself, “As I walk through this gate into unlimited possibility what do I choose to find?” You can do creative visualization any time and it will help you see the world as more open, and more possible than before.

I often use a great piece of movie art when I want to visit the land of unlimited possibility. I imagine Dorothy and Toto flying around in her Kansas sky-basket and then I see her drop into the Technicolor world of OZ.

The movement from black and white to color means something to me that is totally spiritual. No matter what is going on in the land of facts, it helps me transcend fear. I get enthusiastic every time I imagine landing in magical world of OZ where anything can happen.

We use can creative visualization like we use works of art. The purpose is to move our consciousness, including our emotional natures, into a place where we feel more open, more positive and where everything feels possible. It is good to follow up visualizations with prayers.

Our prayers may not feel like works or art but they are creative. They are directed, purposeful thought and each time we put our minds to directed prayer or visualization, it is very powerful. It is much more powerful than random worry.

Like prayer and other spiritual practices, the creative arts blow away our limited belief systems and open us up to new impressions and understandings. Spiritual teachings do that as well. Prayer can clear out the confusion, open the gates of our minds and empower us. Good art very often has a deliberately spiritual component.

Take The Gates, for instance. The fabric color was called orange but it was officially saffron –the color of a Buddhist monk’s robe. The installation was only in place for 16 days and the reason was impermanence is a Buddhist concept. It is also a New Thought concept.

We know everything changes and that is a great blessing. Spirit is constantly creating and recreating the physical conditions of our universe.  We turn to our spiritual teaching and to prayer to make sure that the changes go in the direction of our dreams.

A project like Christo’s, The Gates, is temporary but our prayers and thoughts create a permanent new world for ourselves. We can use art works it to inspire our own creativity. Good art can make us ask, “What can I do in my life that is powerful and original? Christo defied the usual limitations of art, and that can motivate us to defy the usual limitations in our life.

Did you ever think that artists and New Thought spiritual leaders are doing the same work in different ways? They both aim to help us see life differently. More than one person has been enlightened because of a painting or musical composition.

My life was enhanced and enlarged by the works of art. One example of an artist who helped me see the world in new ways was the early 20th Century Russian painter, Marc Chagall. He was part of the Paris art world around the turn of the century and he painted childhood memories of his Jewish-Russian village. His dreamlike paintings sometimes featured people floating through the air.

When I saw those magical mystery tour paintings I felt like Chagall and I were cousins. Until then, I thought I was the only one who could see people floating in the ethers. His paintings blew me away.

Artists shake us up and let us see that we can change. However, most people resist the idea that we can change. They look at Christo’s golden gates and say, “What’s that bunch of flapping rags mean?” Or they look at a Chagall painting and says, “That’s silly, people don’t fly.”

We are indebted to artists because they show us change is possible. They are a gift and we thank them when we appreciate their endeavors.

We can use also use artistic activities in our lives to open ourselves up to unlimited possibility. If I could wave my wand today, I’d give everyone the gift of some personal artistic expression. Whether it is dance, painting, singing, or playing a musical instrument, I believe we can all benefit from some kind of art in our lives.

Ask Yourself

Do you enjoy art?

Do you enjoy creative visualization?

Do you believe in unlimited possibility?

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2 Comments on “Art and Spirit”

  1. Maxine Kaye says:

    Yes, yes! This brought to mind the movie that rocked my world as a child: “The Secret Garden,” when it suddenly went from black and white to Technicolor! Had an amazing time speaking in Calgary and playing with Carol. Flight from Phoenix gets me to Yuma around midnight. Yoga has been lovingly cared for and I’m looking forward to seeing her soon. Love, Maxine

    Sent from my iPhone

    • janeclaypool says:

      That is another one like Pollyanna – actually designed to teach New Thought. It’s a good newish movie but I don’t remember it as a child. Sounds as if you had fun on your travels. Love, Jane


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