Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spirituality, Love and Art/ Part II

Over ten years ago, I worked on a collaborative art project with a man who often mentioned his strong faith in God. I recall once asking him if his faith ever wavered, and he said, "no." When I asked him why this was true, he said it was because everything he had ever asked for had been given him. Although I didn't question him on what he had asked for, I was amazed that he felt his faith had never faltered, because mine sometimes does. I attribute this to the fact that I am human, and therefore fallible.

For me, it's easy to practice my spirituality from the inside out when everything is going well in my life. Small daily trials incessantly present themselves, but are smoothly navigated and more often than not, forgotten. However, there are three areas that I see as presenting major spiritual struggle. They are the inevitable emotional conflict following the loss of a loved one, acceptance of the realm of mystery accompanying one's belief in God, and lastly, overcoming specific spiritual contradictions within oneself.

Of these three, I see the latter as presenting the greatest struggle. I feel it is difficult to overcome spiritual contradictions within oneself for the following reasons, among others:

1) Failure to act upon one's initial prayer or intention 2) Either deliberately or subconsciously choosing to ignore the truth available within oneself 3) Asking God to help you and then trying to take the reins from him/her 4) Asking God to help you and refusing to do your part (see #1) 5) Forgoing the necessary work of developing yourself so as to be fitted to the dimensions of your request (How can you request something that you are not prepared to handle? Example: You have asked God for a mate who is honest, kind and loving, yet these traits have not been exhibited by you.) (Recently, I read somewhere that we can only expect to receive what we already possess in some capacity.)

It seems that living on this planet earth would make bouts of spiritual struggle inevitable. This is particularly true of situations where one's faith is tested, as happened to me seven years ago when entering the hospital for major surgery of high risk. Having constantly prayed fear-filled prayers for endless hours, I grew weary of the fear, finally letting go of it. I simply could not hold on to it because it was too exhausting. I could try to tell you what the letting go felt like but the only word that comes close is "freedom." Yet I think the struggle was necessary in order to arrive at that point.

In my next post, I will talk about how the painting process often feels like spiritual struggle.