T.R.I.B.E. friends and Fellow Travelers,
I have been doing a series of interviews lately with a young woman, a New Thought Practitioner-in training and very wise soul, for a website/portal she is creating as part of her project for Practitioner studies. She is asking great questions, and I thought I would share some thoughts from our conversations with you.
My earliest New Thought teacher was my dad. A longtime sober AA member, he introduced me to Emmett Fox’s “Power Through Constructive Thinking”, James Allen’s “As a Man Thinketh” and Maxwell Maltz’s “Psycho-Cybernetics”. My time with my dad, who left this plane when I was only sixteen years old, was saturated in what is now widely known as New Thought thinking.
My father taught me that we magnify what we focus upon, that we have the power through what we focus upon, to connect with a force for good in the Universe. Thoughts are things, and that, as James Allen says in “As A Man Thinketh” , “The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart- this you will build your life by, this you will become.”
In other words, if I am experiencing a physical limitation, and only talk about that limitation, I magnify the condition. On the other hand, if I see certain things in the world that I would like to change, I am able to be a change agent for good by catching a vision of a better world, and speaking and living that, rather than harping on what is wrong.
This teaching is so simple and profound.
Our words have power.
Our self-talk creates our inner environment, our expectation of health and the way OUR world looks.
How we behave with one another matters – a lot.
I don’t know if any of these early “human potential movement” writers would believe the crazy proliferation of get rich quick Tele-seminars and whole religions set up to “manifest prosperity” that have grown from their early teachings. It all seems pretty crass and formulaic to me.
The other profound influence I would recommend to any and all is the Quaker philosophy of George Fox, who brought forth the teaching of Jesus by saying “You ARE the Light of the world.” A Quaker children’s song says, “I am walking in the glory of the Light, said Fox.” (not related to Emmet!)
I have tried to live by and teach these Principles, through many formal studies. And I have found myself back where I began – as an artist, painter, designer, actor, singer, dancer, writer, journalist, fascinated observer of human beings. This is because I think religion can’t stop itself from trying to tell people what to do. Most religions end up being exclusive clubs and not liberating, uniting experiences. I believe in the power of the ARTS, practiced with some intention, to open us to these inner truths my Dad taught me about. This is why I am excited about T.R.I.B.E.
In Theatre we experience comedy and tragedy and there are complex human interactions that allow for amazing truths to emerge. Everything isn’t “zippety doo dah” all day long. People are complex, life can hurt, and we need a way to get through it to the Light again. Music and Painting and Dance and Sculpture lead us on the inner journey, if we dare to let it. That inner walk is a labyrinth and is complex. Artists like Stravinsky and Kandinsky and Martha Graham and Paul Taylor and Tony Kushner and Craig Lucas and Aeschyles and Eugene O’Neill and Georgia O’Keefe and Louise Bourgeois and Caraid O’Brien and August Wilson, and Shakespeare and Geraldine Page and Brancusi and Deborah Singletary, and Angelica Page and J.D. Parran and Graham Haynes and Luma Rivera and Michael Berardi and Ramon Thielen and many other brave artists – are not afraid to go to the deep well and bring back a gift for us.
My work is to create a place where the wisdom of these explorations can find a voice and isn’t killed by a culture of fast answers and fake dreams. We need the wisdom and the courage that the artist in you can access. We need this – a lot.
Have a great week.
Can’t wait to see what comes next:)