Detail of stained glass window in the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Spokane, Washington.
(Rose windows have always suggested to me the deep reconciliation of spirituality and nature. Editor.)
Inspired by the visionary Catalan architect and artist, Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), and the possibilities of the Internet, we are building an interfaith cathedral in cyberspace. This a place to both calm down and get inspired. Nurtured by beautiful works of art and beautiful pieces of music, we hope to find new energy here with which to:
- take better care of our own hearts, minds, bodies, souls
- take better care of the people around us and the peoples of Planet Earth
- take better care of the Web of Life
- commune with the source of our being and give thanks for the miracle of life
Included here you will find transformational art and music suggested by various friends and participants. My definition of transformational art is that you look at a piece of artwork, or hear a song, and from that point onward, you never see the world again in the way that you saw it before. Beauty knows no denominational boundaries. (We understand that, given the way nature loves variety, not every person will be inspired by every item presented here. But we hope you find many that lift you up and help you see new possibilities.)
One of the recurring themes in my journey of awakening-to-connectedness, is that the deeper the ugliness I intend to confront and mend in the world, the deeper the beauty I need to let into my life. Otherwise, how shall I stand against the monumental ugliness of things like torture and nuclear weapons? A parallel intuition to the above is that if ecology organizations invite people to take up noble and monumental struggles, such as saving the oceans of Planet Earth, those organizations and campaigns need to provide more emotional support, more sense of connectedness, for their participants than an occasional newsletter.
We have never faced challenges so large, hence this new effort to support and encourage people around the world who are working on behalf of the Web of Life, by offering a new emphasis on resilience , inspiration and spiritual friendship . I have begun this page with some of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever listened to, and some of the images that I have found most inspiring in my life. There are also people to remember, people whose love and courage shines so brightly and so beautifully that our lives are forever changed by them. Over the coming months I will include many of them here, a significant number of who paid with their lives for their acts of love and courage, beginning with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. , and including Ken Saro Wiwa, Sister Dorothy Stang and Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Their love and courage can live on in us. They are our cloud of heavenly witnesses.
I invite everyone to suggest for this page the music and art that has most inspired you, and the people who have most inspired you. Please make your suggestions using the suggestion form at the side of this page. (We may not be able to include every item suggested but we will consider each suggestion very carefully and gratefully).
Dennis Rivers, Editor
Jennifer Berezan and Friends A chant from her album, In These Arms, A Song for All Beings (https://www.edgeofwonder.com/music/in-these-arms)
In a time when people and trees and animal species are being killed around the world by war and greed, this song becomes a universal prayer. The peoples of the Earth, and all creatures great and small, ask of each of us: Will you stand by me? Will you walk beside me as a friend?
Related material: Companions in the Storm, Companions in Blessing:
Explores the role of deep friendship in the mending of a broken world.
Robert F. Kennedy gave this speech, “The Mindless Menace of Violence,” in 1968 on the day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed in Memphis. Kennedy himself was assassinated a few months later, making of these words his final plea to us to grow toward compassion and to renounce violence. His words still speak to us, some forty years later, because events such as school shootings and the attempted murder of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords remind us that violence still has a deep grip on the soul of America.
Fractal painting by Exper Giovanni Rubaltelli
Our Resources Page on the life and work of Dr. King
includes many free chapters from his books.
Paul Mealor’s new setting of the hymn Ubi Caritas (Where There is Love, God is Present) sung recently at the royal wedding in London by a multi-racial choir.
Fragments of a Prayer — Sir John Tavener, Composer
Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy explores the spiritual challenges to humanity presented by nuclear weapons. She is filmed by Cynthia Jurs, Director of the Earth Treasure Vase Project, a Tibetan spiritual practice of filling clay jars with prayer scripts and small objects of deep meaning to the givers, and then burying the vases at trouble spots around the world. The Treasure Vase ritual asserts the power of consciousness and intention in a world imagined as full of only inert objects. Several Treasure Vases have been buried at nuclear weapon sites.
Shoto Terdrom is a place where Buddhist nuns live as hermits in one of Tibet’s most beautiful and sacred places. In a vacant cave, I carved and painted the Rainbow Bodhisattva, an androgynous figure filled with prisms of color, seated in the lotus posture. Her/his legs were molded from the red clay of the cave floor. Neither a Buddha nor a Kuan Yin, this is an energy body, symbolizing the underlying energy connecting everything, the level at which our inner space merges with the space around us.I wanted to create a work traditional enough that the Buddhist nuns and hermits living in nearby caves could identify with it. But I also wanted to embody a universal image that was not limited to any one concept of wholeness. When the work was complete, two Buddhist nuns who were walking in the canyon looked into the cave and saw the figure. They burst into tears and began doing prostrations before it. I knew then I had achieved what I had hoped.
O Magnum Mysterium (Oh, Great Mystery)– A choral piece by Morton Lauridsen
When I listen to this music I think of the galaxies scattered across the night sky and how through the evolution of stars and minerals and metals and planets they have given birth to all of us, the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds the finned and the feathered. (DR)
M31 Spiral Galaxy
style=”border: 2px solid silver; border-radius: 7px;” /> Spirited Horse II — Print by Carla Trujillo
Mercedes Sosa sings “Gracias al la vida”
Haydée Mercedes Sosa, known as La Negra, (9 July 1935 — 4 October 2009) was an Argentine singer who was popular throughout Latin America and internationally. With her roots in Argentine folk music, Sosa became one of the preeminent exponents of nueva canción. She gave voice to songs written by both Brazilians and Cubans. She was best known as the “voice of the voiceless ones”. (For more information about this song and Mercedes Sosa, click here .)
Calling All Angels Jane Siberry with K.D. Lang
Suggested by Paloma Pavel.
Buddha Under Bo Tree — Book illustration by Hamzeh Carr (1926)
I first saw this picture when I was around six years old,
and I was
deeply changed by looking at it. I never forgot it. (DR)
Tony Scott — Music for Zen Meditation — 1964
Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No.1
Salli Terri (1922 – 1996) sings the Aria of Bachianas Brasileiras No 5, by Heitor Villa-Lobos
accompanied on the guitar by Laurindo Almeida
Tree of Mandalas, by Paul Heussenstamm
(click on image to see more of this artist’s work)
We are each a unique expression of the Tree of Life, hence the encouragement, among EcoBodhians, to “find the prayer of one’s own heart.”
Bobby McFerrin — The Twenty-third Psalm (for my mother)
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Madonna della Seggiola (Sedia) — Raffaello Sanzio — 1514 Oil on wood, diameter 71 cm — Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence Suggested by David Richo.
Ave Maria — Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c1515-1594)
Ex Nihilo Tympanum — National Cathedral — Frederick Hart (1943 – 1999)
Suggested by Robert Bushman. Click here for a gallery of photos of this sculpture.“I have sought to imply the supreme and unique majesty and mystery of the divine force in a state of becoming. In the central tympanum, Ex Nihilo, I use the emergence of the mass of humanity from the void to evoke the nature of the phenomenon of Creation, that is, the evolution of form and psycho-spiritual consciousness from the rampant chaos of cosmic energy.” Frederick Hart
Lark Ascending (1920) — by Ralph Vaughn Williams Suggested by Maía.
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POWER — A Song from 1979 No Nukes Concert in New York City This 1979 song was prophetic, predicting in its way both the successes of wind and solar energy and the nuclear disasters that would arrive in the coming decades. (Leaks of radioactive waste at Hanford, WA, are a slow-moving and under-noticed calamity on a par with the much more dramatic crisis in Fukushima, Japan.)
Louie Schwartzberg, filmmaker, presents a brief film on Nature, Beauty, and Gratitude, featuring the voice of Brother David Steindl-Rast.
Two Starry Night paintings by Vincent Van Gogh
Starry Night over the Rhone
What makes these paintings even more beautiful to look at today, is our growing knowledge that all living things are children of the stars. It fills my heart with wonder to know that the carbon and iron (and everything else) in our bodies was created throughout the universe by the explosions of early generation of stars.
Remnants of a supernova.
This composite image from Chandra and Hubble shows us that approximately 5,000 years ago, a massive star in the Large Magellanic Cloud destroyed itself, providing materials for life in the far future and leaving us to gaze at a gorgeous remnant.