Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Context is Almost Everything

With the Shirley Sherrod, NAACP, and Tea Party stories, just to name a few, I’ve been emphatically reminded that context is almost everything. On NPR recently I heard a story about Art restoration that really made me think. As we’ve been learning about Ethical Values, how to unearth the deepest truths within us, to bring out the best always as our Being, we’ve talked a lot about truth and lying and about what it means to be “an original.”  A restoration of Thomas Eakins’ famous 1875 painting, “The Gross Clinic,” has been underway for a year in Philadelphia. The story of the restoration, the “ruination” which came from good intentions but perhaps a limited appreciation for context, and the energy (and money) that such attention can bring forth is a fascinating one, and to me it applies to every image we create of ourselves as well.

As some of the conservators say, it may be easy to say what’s “wrong” with a painting, but not exactly what is wrong, how can the damage be repaired, and what, in fact, has been damaged? Such knowledge requires a passion to Know, a passion for integrity and purity, and an appreciation of intention and the art of expression. At least I think so.

People have different opinions of what they like better – the painting before restoration or after. This reminds me of going to the ophthalmologist and the “is this better, or is this better” test. It’s important that we know what we like better, yet I also love those whose passion it is to restore the integrity of the artist’s intention. When we apply such an understanding of context to ourselves and our creation of life, of lives, it illuminates the value perhaps of opening our mind to our own greater eternal context as energy beings with an evolving consciousness.

Copying and truth relate to every level of our being and our actions. It is amazing to me to think about how we must reach a point in our own consciousness evolution to begin to think of ourselves as creators, beyond the miraculous creation of children, and then how each action that comes from each thought influenced by our emotions and senses can illuminate to us the color and feeling-tones that we are experiencing in that moment in Time and Space.

Conservators such as Mark S. Tucker, who restored Eakins’ painting, devote the time and attention to understand the effects of time (and aging) on a canvas. Think of ourselves as a canvas, a canvas made of layers of applications of color and grime which are truly energy fields which we’ve created through our experience as energy beings.

Interpretation may be relative to the interpreter, but patience and knowledge are an absolute necessity.

As we think about The Joy of Health in our Spiritual Philosophy classes and we are led to ask ourselves questions such as, Do we live our truth or with a veil of lies?, I now come back to this story of restoration.  Lying is forgettable, we heard on Sunday at our class. Why? Truth is memorable. We build lie upon lie, layer upon layer as time goes by, unless our mind is prompted to love more, to be true to its convictions as an energy being with the intention of growth and change, of love truly. Shirley Sherrod’s past came to light via another who took a snippet of a video to use for his own agenda. Since then, she and the person who began the journey this way have branched into new media journeys and more. Sherrod has been given a broader platform to illuminate her past, her values, her interpretation of her life and choices and their consequences. She has exhibits (people) that have come to light to supplement her story of her life and purpose in this focus. Whatever we think of different personalities, our energy reveals who we are. The interpretations remain for those we encounter and their own level of thinking and living. Love, compassion, honesty, change as change relates to the truth of ethical values always wins out over the shadowy agendas of those whose motives are not as clear (pure). Convolution clouds the mind.

I listen to Kathy Oddenino explain her own convictions as she remembers experiences in her life – with bigotry, with lying, with cheating, etc. – and I think about what such conviction means to a mind and heart. Brave heart, strong mind, a way of using our body as the energy temple that it is, as we honor ourselves and our creation, moment by moment, from sperm and ovum joining to the moment we lose “consciousness” as a physical human being and live on as an energy being, to create again.

Restoration is indeed an Art, no matter how we look at it!

No comments: