Movies & Metaphysics

dreamMade In Heaven, one of my favorite movies, was made in 1987 and stars Kelly McGillis and Timothy Hutton. The story begins in heaven where the recently-dead hero falls in love with the new-soul heroine. In this movie, heaven is a kind of holding pen. The heroine is sent to earth and the hero persuades the authorities to let him “take cuts” in the reincarnation line to chase her.

I like the scenes in heaven because they are whimsical and fun. The Planet Earth plot is an average quest – “Will hero find heroine in time?” The stars have just enough déjà vu to keep them unconsciously seeking their true love.

They are lucky to be reborn into the United States, but there are plenty of complications. He is a low-class Westerner and she’s a high class Easterner. Like all good quests, success looks unlikely  – especially because they don’t know what they are seeking.

The scenes in heaven make it seem as though people create all the good stuff in heaven and then recreate it on earth when the returned as a new persona.

In the movie, as the hero stumbles toward true love, he sees a painting in a NYC art gallery that was first created in heaven. The painting is probably in the story to support the plot and prove some art works are so “heavenly” they must have been created in heaven.

It’s only a movie and I love the whimsical approach to metaphysics but I didn’t take it seriously. However, I have often wondered about nature of individual creative genius.

Why can two equally hard-working, well-trained students be so different in talent? How, exactly, do we explain the fine sonata Mozaart wrote at age eight? Is it reincarnation? If everything comes from God, is it just waiting for someone on earth to imagine it? That’s sort of what Made in Heaven is saying.

This week, I watched that movie on TV once again. Later, I was perusing the Science of Mind Textbook and found stuff on page 273 that takes all the starch out of my favorite metaphysical movie’s garters.

Dr. Ernest Holmes is talking about how affirmative prayer works. He says that the Divine Intelligence is Infinite Mind and when we use treatment, we give it to God to do the work and God creates in that moment. God specializes for us through Spiritual Law.

This is the paragraph that really woke me up: God is forever doing new things, and when we conceive new ideas, it is an act of the Divine projecting Itself into Creation. There were no flying machines until man made them. The Spirit did not have a lot of little flying machine models put away in a cosmic cupboard somewhere. But the mind that conceived the flying machine is God. The mind we use is the Mind of the Universe. This is God in man and it is only through this Mind that we understand anything. This mind is us, responding to us, the flight of the Alone to the Alone,” of “the One to Itself” is God speaking and God answering.

Even if you find that paragraph difficult to understand, it is clear that Holmes says that paintings are not first done in heaven and carried down to earth. God doesn’t invent until the individual has the vision and then God works through him or her. Humans are a necessary component to this creation.

The music, dance, painting or novel, is an expression of the Creative Mind in action but it must act through us. It takes individuals to begin to imagine inventions or creative expressions that we call art before God creates. We are part of the process and it particularizes through us.

The Creative Mind responds to the inventor or artist and creates in the moment. There is no warehouse of paintings or sonatas or stories stored anyplace because God creates in the moment.

Holmes’s statement might surprise some artists. Many artists feel as though their creations are a gift from God that  flows through them. Many writers, including this one, have good days when it feels as though the work “somehow” writes itself. We call that inspiration.

When inspiration flows as wonderful, easy creative expression, it flows like meditation or even a light trance but that artistic expression is always a combination of human being and God creating together.

No matter how talented we are, we all begin as novices. We need teachers and seek outside guidance as a part of our artistic process. Most artists keep ordinary habits and hours because they find that dedication is important so inspiration won’t go missing.

We are all creative and we are all influenced by our culture and outside factors. We all create in different forms and styles. We are influenced by our unique consciousness and because we are unique, our output is unique. Whether it is a Mona Lisa painting or a great new apple pie recipe it is true art, and filled with the Creative Energy of God. Inspiration is wonderful and more available to skilled people who allow the creative energy flow through them as they create.

Many artists have some sort of religious understanding of their work. One of the most famous woodcarvers in Oaxaca, Mexico, once explained to me that the Angels tell him what to sculpt. I don’t believe in Angels but I do believe Senor Jimenez believed.

We do better creative work when we clear our consciousness of self-defeating ideas and allow inspiration to flow. We need to find a path that allows us to be ourselves with our own unique desires and talents.  Just anyone can’t be a Senor Jimenez or a Diana Ross but they have allowed themselves to be themselves so their talent shines. A true artist aims to be his or her unique self.   We are all artists of our own lives.

When you take Science of Mind classes, you learn that you are a unique, individualized expression of God. If you look around, you can see that is true. Do you ever wonder how you came to be that unique, wonderful, person that you are?

Have you ever wondered why you are you? Do you remember when you were a teenager and wanted to be just like everyone else?  Somewhere along the path, all of us, especially artists, must begin to express their own beautiful, individual selves and forget about being like others.

We happier and healthier and more successful when we release the idea we should imitate anyone else. We need to discover our own blessed, individual selves. We need to accept ourselves and our individual talents and strengths.

Movies are fine but they are only stories. The relationship of the visible and invisible worlds or Spirit to matter or God to humans makes more sense in the Science of Mind Textbook than on the silver screen. Dr. Holmes states clearly that we are unique expressions of God and that we can each express in ways no one else can. We are unique and necessary to God.

Ask Yourself

How are you most creative?

What spiritual books do you read?

What are your talents?

Do you have an artistic hobbies?

What artistic expression would you like to try?



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?