As you read this post, you may want to listen to “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert, above. The visual that you see remains constant throughout the progression of the music.
In my second post, entitled, “Essential Premise in Finding One’s True Spirit,” I had written: “To find our true and unique spirits, we must dismantle and transcend the superficial labels human beings often identify with - and live out in their lives - to their diminishment as conscious, loving beings.” I had said that the essential premise in finding one’s true self is understanding that all are equal within the spiritual universe. Once we know this to be true, our search for our deeper selves is freed from superficial considerations, such as class, or race, or power, or money considerations.
In President Barack Obama’s speech following the killings of innocent people in Tucson, Arizona, he said the following words to comfort America’s citizens:
“As we recognize our own mortality, and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame -– but rather, how well we have loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”
The President also spoke of the need for an “expansion of our moral imaginations” in order to create a more empathetic nation. I thought of how United States General Ulysses S. Grant had shown, in victory, magnanimous empathy to his counterpart, Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Grant had said that he was saddened by the valiant Lee’s fate in his surrender because Lee had waged such a courageous battle for his cause, even though that cause “was one of the worst for which men have ever fought and for which there was the least excuse.” In other words, Grant had exercised an “expansion of his moral imagination” to place himself, mentally and spiritually, in his former enemy’s consciousness. Grant had been able to identify with Lee’s sensibilities as well as with all Southerners’ sensibilities, and thus, he had been able to be generous not only toward Lee in their private meeting at the end of the Civil War, but toward all Southerners in their reunification with the Union.
In order to know the depths of our unique beings, we must be able to exercise imagination that transcends the temporal. For example, I happened to have been born a white female in south Georgia in the early 1940s when Jim Crow was alive and well in the segregated South. As I experienced an “expansion of my moral imagination” as an adolescent, I empathized with African-Americans who happened to have been born black in south Georgia in the middle of the twentieth century. Knowing that we are all spiritually equal, I could not abide the superior perceptions that most white Southerners displayed toward black people. Something in my “moral imagination” told me that I was born a white Southerner, in the middle of the 20th century, simply by an act of fate or chance. I could just as well have been born a peasant in France in the 18th century. Would I then have hated French royalty? We are born into certain categories or labels, but we can transcend these categories and look deeper, not only into our own souls, but into the souls of all around us – including the spirits of animals, as I have mentioned previously – if we develop our sensibilities and sensitivities to a higher level.
When I studied acting, I read that the budding actor needs to fine tune his sensitivity as a beginning step toward being able to reach the depths of the character whom he will be playing. The author had said that one can do this by listening to classical music or by witnessing great art. One’s sensibilities are heightened by that process of the development of the mind and spirit. That is why I suggested, initially, that the reader may want to listen to “Ave Maria” while reading this post.
Below, I have included a print of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” or at least part of that huge painting of the Spanish victims of war. When I lived in New York City, I was fortunate to witness that great painting on loan from Spain to the Museum of Modern Art. It is the painting that has impacted me, emotionally, more than any other in my life.
When we, as mortal humans, begin to know ourselves and others in deeper dimensions than we presently do, perhaps we will finally evolve past the need to kill and be killed in wars.
There is so much more to be said in seeking one’s inner spirit. I hope, however, that this post has been a helpful beginning. More will be written on finding one’s inner spirit in the months ahead. Enough - of the depth of it - for now.