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Spirited Words

See below for a collection of reflections, writings, essays, poems, and other contributions that the ISH community has submitted over the years. We hope you enjoy.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to our blog, please contact Anyang Anyang <anyanganyang@ish-tmc.org>. We publish writing that relates to our mission of enhancing well-being by exploring the relationship between spirituality and health.

 

Inspiration from the Spiritual Realm?

By John Graham

July 5th, 2012

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.

Sara Moore