Art & Healing

By September 24, 2015 Uncategorized 2 Comments

Interior Landscape by Petrea Macdonald

Art & Healing     — — —  An open heart for Art

It’s simple really.  God is THE creator. WE are made in God’s image.  Therefore we are God’s creators.  IOW God creates thru us.  (God is the terminology that I have become comfortable with after decades, but it doesn’t realy matter what name we call our Source.)

So.  When our Soul desires to create — and we all have that desire, it is God’s desire to be fulfilled through us, God’s beloved.

If we categorically refuse, which often happens due to Shame or Fear, our Soul starts to get rambunctious.

I see it as a young colt penned up in the stall for too long.  You KNOW what’s going to happen.

When we allow ourselves to follow that secret desire to create, we are actually surrendering to God’s will; which is even more scary!

We now have a list of three big sticking points:

Fear

Shame

Surrender,

which brings us to a fourth:

Trust

When we make a small effort to listen to our Soul and honor our Soul’s desire, we meet obstacles.  If we COMMIT to our soul’s desire we are commiting to God.  And God’s desire for us, his beloved is JOY.

One thing you learn is that God never uses Force. By surrendering to God’s will, we are empowered.  God’s power is power with, not power over.

So. Why the resistance?  If it’s so good to surrender, why resist?

Perhaps you can tell me.  There are many answers to this question.

I think everyone has a different take on this and then some people have no problem with surrender.  But, I do.  I am very familiar with bumps and boulders in the road.  For me one bump is ego, that light being who wanted to be a big fish in a little pond, who wanted knowledge of the Other.   Nothing wrong with that as long as you are very mindful and don’t, “believe the hype.”  Remember Cain?  He got lost in the hype.  Even when you have it all, it is very hard to stay balanced and not tip over into craving for more, or anxiety that it won’t last.(BTW, It’s OK to skip to the conclusion!)  God warned Cain he was heading down the garden path. (great story, Genesis 4:1-16).  It says, “And the Lord had regard for the offering of Able, but for Cain and his offering God had no regard.”  Wow, that hurts.  How could God be so unfeeling, so cruel?  Any parent knows better.  The listener to this tale is totally with Cain.  The story proceeds with God asking Cain, “Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen?”  (As if he doesn’t know!) more cruelty.  Then the comment, “If you do well will you not be accepted?”  What does this have to do with anything?  Wasn’t he just rejected? . . .

Actually, God doesn’t say Cain is rejected. He is quoted as saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? and if you do not do well, sin is lurking at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”  Cain doesn’t get the complexity of this message. He is  out of control in his righteous indignation.  He invites Abel for a walk in the field and murders him.

But let us examine the complexity of God’s comment to Cain and the construction of this story.  First, the story is perfectly set up so that the reader/listener identifies with Cain. (Most Old Testament stories were oral and theatrical presentations, therefore it is often helpful to read them as scripts missing the stage directions.) Cain has the positive attributes of a hard worker suffering injustice.  The narration provides the information that,  God has no regard for Cain and his offering, which is different from when God actually speaks.  An entire inner landscape is presented in these lines, just as we see it in our heads—-not getting our just desserts, being shut out by our upstart younger brother, no recognition for our efforts, being passed over.  Isn’t that how we tend to view ourselves when someone else gets credit for a good job?   The figure of Cain is an universal archetype of everyman.

Second, God is an outsider.  God  has no understanding whatsoever of Cain’s feelings or else he just doesn’t care.  Either way God is an unsympathetic character, not to be trusted.  And third Abel is a sap.  He, like God has no awareness whatsoever of Cain’s state of mind.

Third, the scale of murder as a response to insult puts this drama into a larger than life epic.  Murder gets your attention.  The truth is that murder is what we commit everyday when we react out of fear.  It is not always a body that dies.  It may be an idea or a tender feeling, but it is still murder when we experience it. This story from Genesis shows us the birth of sin as a separation from Love.  It also shows us how fast this happens.  Faster than we can be aware of.  So indeed, sin lurks at our door, desiring us.  We must do well to be one with God’s love.  The story doesn’t say so in so many words, but everlasting forgiveness is implied becaause God is never quoted as saying, “if you do this you will be damned to Hell.

The whole scene has very little reality, except as a portrait of Cain’s inner conciousness. And that inner, higher-power kind of voice that reminds him; it is his choice to blindly follow his rage or to stop and consider the reality of the situation using the wisdom of his heart.

Conclusion                        Very Quickly we lose our connection to LOVE.  It happens when we get caught up in thinking it is possible to be separate from LOVE.  Bur LOVE is the Ground of our being.  It is our infinite existance.  My point is, that our creativity comes through that same door as our rage or shame.  It is the door of our feelings.  Often we barricade the door just to cope.  But as adults we are responsible for discerning our motives and creating happiness.  Sin is not the rage or the guilt.  Sin is failing to take responsiblity for our happiness.  Sin is failing to bring our hearts into alignment with God’s will which is joy.  And remember, God does not judge— that is a human capacity because humans make special cases. God loves every prodigal one of us.  If we commit to this continual mindfulness, we will open our hearts.  Yes, we will feel anger, hurt and fear. It is the only route to that inflow of  creative, healing energy.

Making art of any kind, any creative problem solving endeavor utilizes the same process that opens our heart to truth.  Therefore, creators already know the road to healing, the road to truth.

An open heart is centered in Peace.  It may be knocked off center, but return is ALWAYS next.  From this center we have power with peace to meet adversity.  Be warned: it is not a short, straight path to peace.  But it is attainalble because we are all, every single one of us created in God’s image. Or if you prefer, we are all from the Source, therefore we must be as the Source is.

Artists may not function well in a linear, numeric goal operation, but they can usuually get at the heart of the matter.  Ultimately, that’s what counts!

2 Comments

  • Mr. Bugbee's son says:

    Henry James declared, probably in a momentary lapse of second-guessing himself, that “Doubt is our passion.” Surely the great James must have had some far-fetched notion of anyone but himself. Nonetheless, his is a good enough starting point. Doubt is a kind of sneak thief lurking about in those realms of fear and shame, cited by MacDonald, to which might be added defeat. I suspect James in this context was referring to such transient doubt that slips in and out of an otherwise assertive faith in one’s power to create. However, a powerful doubt can morph into delibilitating fear thus overwhelming one’s connectedness to that mysterious realm of creativity. More than a momentary lapse the blank page, the empty canvas, the discordant note collapse into an abyss, negating any faith that the portal to creativity remains accessible. Rather the landscape is desolate, the emptiness raw, the antithesis of MacDonald’s commentary linking creativity and God.

    But …

    The great improvisational jazz pianist Keith Jarrett (hear “Keith Jarrett, Solo Concerts/Bremen-Laussane”) notes that , “I don’t believe I can create, but that I can be a channel for the Creative. I do believe in the Creator and so in reality this is His album through me to you with as little in between as possible within this media-concious earth.” In essence we circle back to MacDonald’s starting point, the nexus between God and our own creativity. Perhaps the struggle comes down, not to our own self-inflicted doubt, nor with any struggle with God, but to the very denial of God, and more wrenching, the doubt that such denial is even justified, yet alone sustainable.

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