Work in healthcare? Need support with spiritual issues? Please join us for our first-ever spiritual support group meeting and see how you can work through spiritual issues that arise in the context of health professions.
April 24 / 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
This intimate "evening of stories" will celebrate personal experiences of spiritual/special/sacred moments in medicine. Four narratives will be shared, each from different perspectives, with time for discussion at the end of the evening.
April 23rd / 5:30-7:00 pm at ISH
"Meditation" encompasses many different form of practice. This panel will allow attendees to learn about the great many varieties of meditative practice, across both Eastern and Western traditions. Come to learn from three experts in the field!
May 14, 2013 / 5:30-7:30pm
An interesting article appeared in the "Ultimate Memorial" section of Houston Chronicle on Thursday, July 5, 2012 (Z12, p 1-2). It was entitled, "Artist believes inspiration comes from the spirit realm." The artist, 59-year old Rocky Fields, has survived debilitating medical illnesses and near-death experiences. About these the artist says, "It's a very awakening experience. Spiritually, it will make a true believer out of you. I know I'm here for a reason." He has found meaning in his art and sees it as a gift he offers to better humanity. He has given proceeds from the sale of his art to Child Advocates, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping children who have been neglected or abused.
Yet, for many there is a problem with Fields' art and the problem is the explanation people want to give for his art. Where does it come from -- the artist or a spirit guide? Some call Fields' art, "spirit art," which is understood to have been created with the help of a "spirit guide." That would place his work in the category of automatic heandwriting and thus in the Biblically forbidden demonic realm of the spirits.
Flori Meeks, author of the Chronicle article relates, "Some say automatic writing is the result of the subconscious mind. Others say the writing is influenced by spirits." Whatever its origin a neighbor, Virginia Bullock, says Fields' art "is coming to him from the other side. . . It has an otherworldly feel to it."
I am always amazed that we humans "have" to find an explanation for that which is best left a mystery. Who is to say where Fields' art is coming from? Can we not appreciate it for what it is? I like what Fields said. "To me, I feel my work has been taken to a level that's a combination of me and something helping me." Okay, and why can't we accept that? Yet, many will want a more definitive explanation, even if it is nothing more than a human construct -- after all there is no divine voice from heaven saying what is happening. Psychotherapist C. J. Jung would say Fields' work comes from the realm of his unconscious mind. That might be more acceptable but this explanation is also a human construct.
I am cautious about what I call "human constructs" -- human explanations of Mystery/Transcendence/God. I feel it is better to celebrate the mystery than to try to define it. When we do that, we box it in, we concretize it, and in the process lose the mystery, lose its transformative power. Ever since the Green philosopher Aristole we humans can hardly resist the temptation to define, categorize, and explain that for which there is no explanation. Somehow that makes us feel we have conquered the mystery. We are in control. Really? I believe in our definitions we may well have lost that which is truly precious.
Virginia Bullock, Fields' neighbor, says "His work is certainly what we could call a miracle." I'd like to leave it at that. In the picture below, artist Rocky fields ponders one of his works of art. He uses many techniques and a mixed media approach and some of his paintings comprise as many as 40 layers of paint. Others are watercolor and acrylic on canvas. He says his paintings "a combination of me and something helping me." In the BIble, the Holy Spirit is our "Advocate," and our "helper." Even so, I still say, leave it alone and ponder his art for what it is.
EXCELLENT COMMENT RECEIVED FROM:
Diana Powell (in Fort Worth, TX) - (Ed. Note: Diana is an artist who taught a Spirituality -In-Art class at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Houston some ten years ago. She is very talented and, as can be seen below, is an excellent teacher. The embolened words were added for emphasis).
I read your article and thought it was very well written. All you said I of course believe myself. The things you said about not trying to analyze the work and just enjoy it is just what J. Pollock said about his own work, when told "Wha?????? is this s----?!" He said, "It's like looking at a field of flowers; you just enjoy it, you don't try to look at each individual bloom" or something like that. Of course we know he was mentally disabled by several factors, but he really knew what he was doing, knew a lot about art.
As far as the guiding spirit that is not a new idea AT ALL. It's called the Muse. And I think it is the most important thing in the world to an artist, and certainly writers have always said voices or spirits start talking to them and then they get on a roll.
To lose your Muse, (I made a rhyme) is horrible! That's something that is a very great loss indeed and I know it all too well. Unfortunately it happens to everyone from time to time, and you have to just keep working if you can, and get thru it and hope you get it back or others come. Sometime it never does. You know the Greeks had names for all of them, Persephone, Calliope, Melpomene, and 2 others I think, and they would offer up sacrifices for them and pray for them, and it's not a bad idea. Maybe it helps, who knows? Many people have a great love in their life and this is their muse. I mean of a person.
I believe angels are often muses. I say this with good reason, which would take me a short tome to write about, because of something I experienced in a vivid dream, seeing and having this told to me thereby. This was not about my work, but someone else's.
Many of the most famous people in the world have said this too. Unfortunately today so many intellectual types don't or can't believe in the world of the spirit at all, and you are of course a rarity in this regard, (for a scientific person, and very intelligent too),but then all of us who know you, know that about you. In fact there was a documentary on the computer I watched about how all these people were thrown out of their good positions as teachers and professors for teaching anything about creation or religion, and professing to be Christian.
The Holy Spirit, now that's a great one. What could be better! I think maybe that is your Muse, as the muse is often discerned in the work as being exponentially good, notice I say exponentially, like the mustard seed growing to be the largest plant in the garden. (And to this, you can look at the work of the great saints of the church as being like this.)
The same could be said of the Devil too, or a fallen angel, but then that would be pretty obvious. Esp. in art, or painting, as it would be of an evil intent I would think, and is when people use filth and paint filthy things.
Then in the world of writing, there is so much stuff out there, that is that way, no need to describe it even.
As to the subject of your article, I would like to see this man's work up close. It is very pretty to look at. Of course it's not like mine, nor would my teacher have approved it, as it lacks design strength, but it has a rhythm to it, a repetition that is very important to good art. There have been several artists who did that kind of thing. At first the work looks like a wall paper print, but then seen up close and personal takes on a different quality of resonance with the spirit. This is a very important aspect not too many people know about, and you can spot it immediately when you see it.
It is a characteristic of heavenly things that they have resonance, so I have been told. (Such as gems and precious metals, beautiful music, etc.) So the same could be said about this in art, as repetition is very important to a good work, such as in shape, & color. I have only heard of one famous artist who did not believe this, and her work always looked like a map to me, a geological map, colored, for topography, because she somehow got the idea that in a non representational painting, one should not repeat a color. Unfortunately she had a lot of students and they thought this was true too, but to me it was so absurd that I couldn't imagine it not being obvious. I never like her work, as to me it lack cohesion that repetition of color brings. They were always like pieces of paintings, which I kind of suspect she did, and then just said that, as it would definitely throw the design off. It is very pleasing, and one has to wonder, why? Now beauty is not necessary to good art, but some would take issue with that. And that's a tome to write about.
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COMMENT RECEIVED From Diana Green (Ed. note: Diana Green was an artist who was taught by Diana Powell whose comment is posted above. Words are emboldened for emphasis.)
John – I read your blog about Rocky Fields. I believe that one (the viewer) can’t get something out of the painting that wasn’t put there by the artist. That said, If a painter is full of peace, joy, and happiness, then that will be reflected in his/her painting. The source of my peace and joy is The Holy Spirit working in this world. If I want to paint “peace and joy”, I must first tap into the source.