First -- and these really aren't in any specific hierarchical order of importance -- they are all highly visual. Whether the lush imagery on John Boswell's Symphony of Science videos, the often breathtaking scenery in Matt Harding's Where The Hell Is Matt?, or the sight of musicians from a wide variety of human cultures all working together to create something beautiful, all of these videos offer us images. Imagery can touch us in very deep ways. It's no wonder that all of the great religions we humans have ever developed make use of imagery -- whether Greek Orthodox Christian's icons or Tibetan Buddhism's ephemeral sand paintings.
Next, these videos also are not just visual, they are also musical. Music, too, can take us to really deep places. It has been said that, "Music is what feelings sound like out loud." (The quote is attributed to a number of people.) Saint Francis of Assisi is remembered as telling his companions, "Preach always. When necessary, use words." Music is a way of "preaching" spiritual truths in a way which bypasses our more literal, linear thinking.
Of course, words aren't all bad, and all but Matt Harding's video include words. John Boswell's Symphony of Science videos use words to convey meaning more heavily than does Playing For Change's "Stand By Me," yet the song's lyrics certainly support the message (implicit in the images) that we are one human family and need to stand by one another. I think I could make a case that even in Matt Harding's dace video, the decision to include the place name of each scene constitutes a use of words to convey meaning.
Finally -- again, not because it's least or most important -- there is the fact that when watching and listening to the videos we are having an experience, yet an experience we from which we have a little distance. We do not have to be invested in the work of creation/production. We do not have to be hampered by any kind of "performance anxiety." Nothing is demanded of us but that we engage with these works and allow them to "enter" our hearts and our minds.These four things are not the only things that define a source of spiritual inspiration and nurture, yet one of more is very often involved.
To round out this series of posts I offer these questions for your consideration:
- Where do you find inspiration and nurture for your spirit?
- What qualities do the sources share with one another? What do the share with the four qualities I've writes about here?
- In what ways do the things that speak to your spirit differ from these videos and/or from each other?