The Relationship Between Spirituality and Artistic Expression: Cultivating the Capacity for Imagining By Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D.


This article I found expresses so much better than I can about spirituality and expression. So what I will do here is add quotes from this article and elaborate with my own words.

“First, spirituality can be considered a search for meaning in life.” Viktor Frankl described the search for meaning in one’s life as “the primary motivational force” in persons.

Viktor Frankl was a Holocaust survivor. He was an Austrian Jew and a Neurologist and psychiatrist. Whilst in the holocaust he noticed how other prisoners dealt with being incarcerated in the camp. Some gave up and died and others survived. He concluded that there was one thing that no-one could ever take away from him and that was his soul. From this he wrote the book “Man’s search for meaning.”

"Der Mensch hat Sinn": 105. Geburtstag von Wiens Ehrenb¸rger Viktor E. Frankl

It can be said that it is “Meaning” that gives our life a sense of purpose. and we all have the ability to find a sense of meaning in our lives. Many people can have a sense of “Is this all there is?”  and many search for a sense of meaning through “things” outside themselves. There are also many people that have a sense of something bigger than themselves. Something mysterious, that perhaps we do not fully know how to describe.  “Spirituality can help us to cultivate a relationship to mystery. In our search for meaning we discover a hunger for something that is beyond the limits of our capacity to fully describe in language.  Spirituality is about transformation and should challenge us to stretch and grow through commitment to a set of practices.”

“A set of practices?” This article is not talking about going to church every Sunday, but rather a set of practices in our normal everyday lives. If we have the desire to truly immerse ourselves in something we love, whether that be meditation, art, study and learning, fishing, reading an interesting book and I could go on…..we then find we have the ability to really lose ourselves in the joy of what we do. However, if we also know in our hearts that the “Journey” we call life is meant to have meaning and a purpose, we are more likely to seek out those things that do.

“Creativity includes the arts, but really encompasses the whole of our lives. Every act in which we “make special” can be a creative one. Jung saw images as clues to the unlived life that move toward some form of outward expression.”

I have recently come to believe that the more creative we can be, the more we add to the universal knowledge of the Divine. I believe we are each an individual expression of the divine, so what we create is an expression of the divine. (even if we love doing something that another considers uninteresting.) What we can imagine – we can create.

every artist

An Artist is not just someone who can paint. We can be Artists of our own expression in so many ways.

“Painting, movement, poetry, and song all draw on these different kinds of intelligence and serve us well in the spiritual life.”

“We live in a time when our capacity for imagining is being thwarted by television programs and video games that encourage us to tune out of life and become passive consumers rather than active imaginers. Our imaginations are constrained and narrowed by the limiting ideas and contexts in which we live. We are lulled into passivity, and our creative capacity is dulled through a constant barrage of media images and frenzied life pace.”

I feel that it is important to be aware of what is mentioned in the paragraph above. Awareness is key. We do live in a world that tries to brainwash us and we are being bombarded from many directions, especially television, and media. This is why we should learn to become aware and question what we are watching. We can, if we choose tune out of all that and take charge of our lives and find what makes our hearts “sing” and let me repeat that this is different for different people. Just ask yourself and really reflect on “What makes you happy?”  Happiness comes and goes of course but some things we love, we could give our time to.

“Creativity is at the heart of many human pursuits: artmaking, dreaming and discerning our futures, creating loving relationships, playing in our leisure time, generating new ideas in the workplace, building new visions for what is possible for our communities, and working toward justice.”

What opportunities we have, if we think about it.

Please leave a comment and share your own views with me here. I would love that.

Much love,

Gillian x






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