Written in short chapters which focus on aspects of life, Your Daily Life Is Your Temple by Anne Rowthorn explores how spirituality is nourished whenever we tune our inner radar to look and listen for meaning in the everyday. Chapter 5 continued to opened my heart and mind to the extraordinary presence of God by opening my doors to perception.
For instance, what is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of art? Maybe you think of Vincent Van Gogh or your children’s drawings, but for me anything involving artistic talents is the last thing in the world I want to be doing and with that being said, you could say I was less than enthused to begin this chapter. However, I found it wasn’t just about art, but intended to get me thinking about opening my doors of perception. Art itself plays a role in that process.
Are there any works of art you can think of that really tap into your soul? Have you ever considered how you might be encountering God in this way?
Are there any works of art you can think of that really tap into your soul? Have you ever considered how you might be encountering God in this way? Just contemplating these questions, Rowthorn opens up doors of perception. In the ancient Chinese world, poetry and painting were often intertwined and known as Bokugwa. Rowthorn explains this as, “The artist, at the moment of painting, was expected to feel its nature.” The artist must experience the essence of the subject and become one with it. The artist sees the world with a heightened sensitivity. Isn’t this what God urges us to do, too? God created and nurtured this earth and it is our duty as Christians to care for it and to become one with God’s creation. We can’t do that, though, if we aren’t even realizing the beauty of God’s creation around us.
Rowthorn explains that there are two ways the arts enhance our spiritual lives. The first being when we open our eyes to see the world through the images presented to us by the artist – the artist being God. She says we can learn to magnify our feelings for the beauty all around us. Secondly, art gives us the chance to awaken the artist within by taking up a sketch pad and just starting to draw. This was particularly hard for me to grasp because as I said, I am not an artistic person; at least when it comes to drawing. She goes on to say though that this is not a matter of talent, this is a matter of desire, the desire to be closer to God’s creation by letting the beauty of it flow from your eye and into your hand or brush. So, I challenge you to pick up your pencil or paint brush, and get to it. Let God’s beauty do all the work for you.
- Are you an artistic person? In what ways has the art that you do enhanced your spiritual life?
- Does the idea of being an artistic person overwhelm or scare you? How can you overcome this?