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Spirituality by Picasso

December 12, 2011

I find it amusing when someone claims to have THE truth. Don’t get me wrong, I admire their ability to stick to their guns and defend their viewpoint, but to insist that there is only one way to look at things – only one truth – makes me shake my head.

It’s like looking at a photograph of a person – or a painting – and making assumptions about where they were and what they were doing from the angle the photo was taken or the painting was painted. How on earth would you know – from a head shot – what type of shoes the person was wearing (unless you were there) or what was happening to make the Mona Lisa smile?

The painting style known as Cubism began in the early 1900’s with the work of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. This style was based on the idea of incorporating multiple points of view in a painted image, as if to simulate the visual experience of being physically in the presence of the subject, and seeing it from different angles – all the different angles – all at the same time.

I’ll grant you that it makes for some confusing paintings (until you can wrap your brain around what you are looking at), but I think that the same concept can, in effect, be applied to spirituality.

Each religion and spiritual movement has a point of origin; a founder or founders who viewed the world around them, and their own and their followers place in it and saw it all in relation to god from a certain angle – from a certain perspective. They felt the truth of what they taught – felt it to their bones – but they all made one very big mistake, and that was to assume that their view, their perspective, was the correct one. Or more to the point, that their view was the ONLY one.

In fact, if you take a step back, and view the different spiritual movements, the different religions, you can see how each of them had a perspective of truth – as if each was/is looking at the same object, only from a slightly different angle.

It would seem – upon reflection – that the logical outcome of this would be to piece together the puzzle using the different perspectives to get a lock on the truth that each of them was perceiving from its own perspective in time and culture; to choose those parts of each “truth” that were accurate in order to construct your own view of the “truth.”

Of course there are those who would say that this dilutes the truth – that to pick and choose what one feels or believes are right from different movements lessens the impact of the message.

And indeed, that is the problem.

So why not try this; instead of picking and choosing what one “likes” or feels comfortable with from the different movements and religions, why not leave them all exactly as they are?

This does not mean to not study them; to not come to understand them, how they came to be and how they were viewing the world around them.  Instead it means to not try to pull a truth from here and a truth from there, but to leave the movements and religions alone; to leave them as they are and instead to take a step back from them so that they all fit onto the same canvass so that they will provide a three-dimensional view (when taken all together) of the truth(s) which they were/are trying to convey.

Only then; when you have seen the totality of them all, instead of choosing one (or several concepts from each and making something new for yourself), why not embrace them all; the totality of truth as seen from your new, fourth dimensional vantage point?  I can almost guarantee that it will be a far more comprehensive view than any you have had before, including aspects of humanity, and of your own self, that you may not even have bothered to consider before.

It may be a bit difficult to take in, and at first it may seem like having one’s spirituality defined by a Picasso – but if you can manage it, it may end up lending a depth and understanding to your overall perspective that might otherwise be missing.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2011 9:34 AM

    “I find it amusing when someone claims to have THE truth.” – Amen to that…especially considering that “truth” arrives in different colors, shades, shapes, names, etc – depending on who we are and how we see. Great piece – thanks!

    • sshenry permalink*
      December 12, 2011 11:22 AM

      I think it was Lama Surya Das who once said “Each of us – you and I – stands at the center of his or her own truth.” 🙂

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