Today, all of the quotations are from Matthew’s book, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet. Try to meditate on each quotation and see what comes to you.

“The writer at work.” Photo by Fa Barboza on Unsplash

Note how Matthew says he uses art-as-meditation to help him be more productive as a writer and lecturer:

I often ‘get lost’ and get calmed while writing or while preparing a lecture, or while lecturing. I have deep spiritual experiences while working. This is art as meditation also. 

Experiment with this practice of study as meditation and contemplation.

Our creativity is so powerful,
so without precedent in the history of evolution,
that it is literally taking over the planet. 

which I define as
the disciplined pursuit of our holy curiosity,
is a necessary part of remaining alive
and remaining creative
and resisting cynicism

The Heaven and Earth Show’s Alice Beer interviews Sinéad O’Connor about singing, vocation, the Catholic Church, and the prophetic nature of an artist’s job. BBC Archive, 2002

The artist is to the community
or body politic
what the liver is to the human body:
a cleanser
and recycler
of waste
and toxins.

Art as meditation is
simply entering into the artistic process
not to produce a work of art
but to be with the process

The artist has realized
that the alternative to creativity
is worse than death.
It is boredom.
A death of the Spirit.
A soul-death.
A concealment of one’s truth.

See Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, pp. 191-192, 10, 76, 89, 191, 128.

Banner Image: Artist alone on ocean jetty. Photo by Oatsy40 on Flickr. 

Queries for Contemplation

Pick one of the quotations that really spoke to you, and share what came to you.

Recommended Reading

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

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7 thoughts on “Art as a Spiritual Process”

  1. Avatar

    This is just what I was looking for — a spark to fire-up my fellow church members and encourage them to tell their stories! Can’t wait to see what comes of this as I develop it for our context and see what they create. Thanks for sparking my personal mission.

  2. Avatar

    “Art as meditation is simply entering into the artistic process not to produce a work of art but to be with the process.” — MF.

    We bow down to the Mystery and all our inspiration and creativity find their ‘source’ in it. The ‘source’ being ‘the source’ has a natural flow and we look maintain our receptivity with it. If we focus on the ‘receptivity’, our intuitive creativity will naturally follow. If we hold ourselves out as ‘artists’ that require production to justify that calling, we suffer. No amount of quality production comes from the uninspired, that from which new inspiration is not birthing.

    First and foremost, we are ‘receptors’ of love, beauty, truth and a measure of suffering. What follows from that, what manifests from that, provides us with ‘the amount of clay’ (inspiration) in which we can form something new and creative that day. Some days ‘the amount of clay’ we receive is little, so we should just go for a walk. Some days ‘the amount of clay’ we receive is so great that we are just ‘bubbling’ over in our excitement to create something new and we do, and time does not exist for a time. — BB.

  3. Avatar

    I agree with Matthew. I have been involved in a centering prayer group. I am also an avid photographer. I get into the zone, cleared to the Divine, when I am taking and especially when I am processing photos. Photography enables me to “pray” deeply, to connect with the grandeur of the Divine.
    I also experienced the Divine as I wrote this.

  4. Avatar

    I am a work of art, as is my life. Curiously exploring this reality is to enter into a co-creative, intimately personal and authentic relationship with Spirit and my Soul sense of Self. Sacred journaling is the spiritual gateway in which I experience and encounter this process of being and living in communion, union and companionship with. Often I am comforted, consoled, wisely counseled, guided, inspired, encouraged, and empowered; as many things are revealed and made known to me, in processing what I am experiencing and encountering both internally and externally.

    Through this co-creative process my perceptual understanding and vision of myself and life is expanded; which helps me become aware of different choices that are available to me, to consider in response to that which I am experiencing and encountering.

    Sacred journaling is a spiritual practice of deeply and curiously studying myself and life; which consciously awakens me to both the nature of my humanity and my divinity; in relationship with and to the all and the everything of creation. Its a reflective, contemplative, meditative, artistic and co-creative way of processing, awakening to, letting go and at other times claiming and giving birth to; all that which is emerging from within, as I converge with Spirit, my Soul sense of Self in relationship with and to; all that I experience and encounter in life.

  5. Avatar

    “Art as meditation is simply entering into the artistic (creative) process, not to produce a work of art, but to ‘be’ with the process… “

    Spiritually Being and Becoming is I feel being transformed towards our awareness/realization of our True Heart Self~Sacred Eternal Soul~Cosmic Christ Consciousness within our human~Divine nature by our BELOVED co-CREATOR~SOURCE’S Living Presence and LOVING Diverse ONENESS with-in one another in our daily lives and All physical and non-physical CREATION in the COSMOS, especially our Beautiful Sacred Mother Nature/Earth, in the Evolving Sacred Process of the LOVING ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT….

  6. Avatar

    In Matthew’s words
    ‘The artist has realized that the alternative to creativity is worse than death…It is boredom’

    I have found that being a retired person doesn’t mean that life stops or slows down….. in fact the opposite is true. Time seems to expand and there are no rules or regulations as to how I construct my activities.
    My previous working life was creative but carried pressure to perform:
    to write for a dead-line: and to complete tasks to order.
    Now I breathe life into everything I choose to do and creativity just flows.
    In this richness I am writing more: playing the piano more: designing gardens: creating dances for my Dancing Circle and loving going to Church where it now means something.

  7. Avatar

    “Holy curiosity” and “to be with the process” are integral elements of a mystical journey.
    Spiritual intuition needs confidence, a deeply contemplative, profoundly open interior space and a freedom from defined expectations or rigidity of thought. It benefits from a wide variety of sources and breadth of ideas, becoming richer with more ingredients.

    And holy curiosity, for me, is the essential joy of exploring/engaging with ideas (intellectually AND intuitively) plus other forms of full-body-consciousness (direct, deeply engaged awareness), pouring it all into and through intuition’s vast, hidden, flowing, interactively re-mixing pool of subconscious memories, emotional impressions/responses, and sheer playfulness, allowing intuition to “run in the background” (unsupervised play!) and then giving plenty of time/open mental space for intuition to express itself in its own time and manner. It then expresses itself most clearly in art/writing forms that are the most natural and comfortable for the artist/author.

    This also allows astonishing gifts from the Spirit to be magnificently presented, fully and gloriously complete, directly into astonished awareness, sidestepping intellectual attempts to shape and control (and limit) the desired outcome .

    The Art of the Spirit is born in these deep, hidden intuitive spaces, as is the Mystical Revelation.

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