Thursday, September 8, 2011

Spiritual Well-being and the Arts

Throughout my working life I have worked with people in prisons, in hospitals, people with disabilities, refugees and disadvantage migrants and the sick elderly.  

What I have been doing is introducing them to the arts, visual and performing arts, craft and literary arts, particularly songwriting and short story writing.

I have been conscious that many of the groups and individuals I work with have little or no contact with any formal religion.  

What I understood was that most of the artists involved in the programmes set up saw there work as being part of their spirituality.

They saw their art as being part of themselves, some acknowledge that it was their religion.  Many saw the sense of achievement as something spiritual.

Many also saw music as a expression of their own spirituality, but also where they went to get peace and become whole.   

For many, now a days, there is little in the way of connection between their feeling of peace and tranquility and any organised religious ideology.   

I was told by some people in prisons that when they could return to their cell (usually terrible places) they can find peace by taking themselves into "their fantasy world"  their spiritual world.  They would say going into this fantasy world was the only way to survive.    

Maybe there are some lessons for young people who are disconnected with society and are contemplating suicide.   Maybe a spiritual world is an essential part of well-being?  Maybe they can only get in touch with this through the arts?