Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thomas Moore on Art and Spirituality

Psychotherapist, author, and lecturer Thomas Moore, Ph.D., spoke this past March at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, on art, dreams, spirituality, and our need for emptiness. Below is a video of that talk.

Some highlights from the talk, which also included a question-and-answer period:

✦ . . . [W]e tend to live in just one layer, just one layer of our lives. . . We have our life that we look at that looks like this is the world we live [in] and this is who we are but we have overtones. . . we have a soul level. We have our ordinary life but there's a resonance to that life. . . [T]he first major level is the octave of the soul. Then there's another octave. . . another level altogether, which is the spirit. . . [S]o often we don't look at these other octaves. We don't listen for them. . . don't know. . . what's happening at that level of the soul and the level of the spirit. . . So, what do I do in order to pay more attention to the soul level? I ask for a dream. . . .

✦ . . . [I]t's important to lose a lot of things that we think are precious to us. . . .

✦ . . . [D]ream and the mysteries of our existence and the arts are really . . . in the same place. . . They're not at that literal level [where] we normally live. . . That's a reason, I think, why we have trouble with art and appreciating art and understanding art. . . we are not in tune usually with these other layers, with these overtones. . . what [the] artist is helping us reach. . . [T]he beauty of art is that [it] gives you pleasure as well as takes you to. . . where the whole meaning of your life is. . . .

✦ . . . [T]he deepest, deepest levels in your life — your spirit and your deep soul — are profoundly involved in the art around you. The art is there to show you what you have to experience in your life. . .   [T]o look at art is not to go look at something that's pretty. It's to go somewhere and be overwhelmed. . . .

✦ Emptiness. . . it's the very core, it's the foundation of a spiritual life.

✦ . . . [T]he point is not to fill ourselves up but to be able to live with. . . the thing that empties us out. And a real artist, it seems to me, like Emily Dickinson and Rothko and so many others, [is] willing to be and able to be emptied out. . . empty in a spiritual sense. . . .

✦ . . . [T]he spiritual life is meditative life, where we are in touch with the sublime moving toward values of world community. . . .

✦ [When] we're able to. . . see those images that are stirring within us, then we can approach art because then we'll know what its all about. . . .

✦ . . . [E]mptiness is not literal. You may not find emptiness in a place that's totally empty, literally empty. . . .

✦ . . . We need art. . . to have what we need for ourselves.

✦ One of the purposes of religion is to be an art of memory, to keep in mind things that we forget. . . .

Art, Dreams, and Spirituality from Rothko Chapel on Vimeo.

Audio Only

Lecture Transcript

For events this fall at the Rothko Chapel, check the season calendar.

Thomas Moore's Books

Care of the Soul Blog

Barque: Thomas Moore Blog

3 comments:

Sivamjothi said...

Nice article ...
spirtuality is knowing self. Nothing else. it should be first step.
Be the disciple of ramalinga vallalar
http://deathlesseducation.blogspot.in/2012/04/who-am-i-body-or-mind-or-soul.html

Louise Gallagher said...

I love the idea of 'layers' -- and wow -- what a fabulous resource!

Thanks.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Oh, wow. I don't have the time to watch the whole video now, but I'm marking it for later....I'm extremely intrigued by this.

Thank you for sharing!