Vicarious Relationships with Art

     Art is the expression of the spirit moving through those who create the art. Examples includea composer creating music, a painter creating a portrait, and similarly, with the many forms of art created by the human spirit. Art leaves an imprint of the spirit of its creator in the outer world which can be experienced by others as they interrelate with the artist’s work. I refer to this interrelationship as a vicarious experience. I have ingrained in my memory an image of mywife sitting looking at the Taj Mahal with tears streaming down her face. Vicarious relationshipswith art can enrich the Spirit and reduce stress.

    This insight also applies to the creation of art in the moment by a group of people, whether it be ballet dancers, an orchestra, a choir, even a sports team as the players work together in a way which is beyond mechanistic cooperation involving a sense of inspirational co-creation.

    Art is an outer expression of the artist’s creative spirit. Some forms of art come naturally to those who are performing the art and are completed in one inspirational moment in time. For some it is a process of continual creation. Pablo Picasso often revised the subject of his painting and reused canvases. Choirs practice singing in harmony and feeling the connection with the singers with whom they perform, continually perfecting their gift, they offer to listeners.

    The key to gaining the potential value from a vicarious connection with an art form created by others in the past or in the present lies within the observer. Is the observer just seeing the outer physical form or is the observer observing and connecting at an inner level to the spiritualforce that has or is creating the art.

    As one considers the potential value of learning how to enrich one's own spirit by connecting with the artistic creation of others, it's important to first question how we learn to do this and then to ask how this learning is implicit in the way we educate our children. My experience in gaining my qualifications as an engineer and teaching engineering at a university is how much of our education tends to focus on the mental, analytical side of knowledge and not the artistic form of learning by creating. In grade school the emphasis is on reading, writing, and arithmetic and the scores achieved, and not upon the enrichment from music and art, which is difficult to quantify and measure. I do remember times in my education, which now I recognize as important to learning how to feel the magic and enrich my life. One example is a music teacher who had us listen to and experience Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and another as an apprentice spending half a day practicing drawing. I believe it's important for us, young or old, to recognize that gaining the ability to enrich our spirits and reduce stress requires us to learn how to experience the artistic expression of the human spirit of others.

    Another dimension of art is the art that exists in nature. I can see in my mind's eye a picture of Yosemite National Park in spring and sense its wonder and beauty. Being in nature enables us to connect to the wonder around us, which enriches our spirit.

    Why do people go to art galleries and museums, stream to the countryside at the weekend, or listen with others to a symphony orchestra? There is an opportunity to enrich one's spirit andreduce one's stress by connecting to and experiencing the creative energy that produced or produces art in its many forms. The nurturing potential of art is available to everyone and provides each of us with an opportunity to draw on it to enrich our spirit and reduce the stress of everyday life.

    Thoughts implicit in this bobtale.

    1. Whether art is created in the present or in the past it provides an opportunity for the observer to connect to the creative energy that is or has produced the art and connect in a waythat enriches the spirit and reduces stress.

    2. Each person has the opportunity to identify the form of art that speaks to their spirit and which best provides them with a connection with the spirit of the artist who created it.

    3. Harvesting the benefit from experiencing the creative spirit of the artist depends upon the ability of the observer to connect at their spiritual level to that of the artist. The challenge is to move beyond the physical form, even when observing it, and feel the connection to the creative spirit that produced it.

    4. Western culture is challenged to enable, provide and support educational opportunities at all ages that foster the ability to experience and personally create art.

    5. Nature creates art in many forms and provides us with the opportunity to experience it. There is a great difference between being in nature and experiencing being in nature, and really knowing the difference.

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