Photo: Hari Kirin Kaur Khalsa and Thomas Moore
Science and Art
Writing, creating and teaching: the husband and wife authors of Care of the Soul and Art & Yoga praise good teachers and teaching people how to teach themselves
BY MAGAZINE EDITOR SUSAN MAIER-MOUL
Related Article Conversation: Hari Kirin and Thomas Moore, Part One
Website Hari Kirin Kaur Khalsa Wherever You Are Is The Center Of The World
Website Thomas Moore’s blog: Barque
Related post Book Review: Writing in the Sand by Thomas Moore
Susan Maier-Moul Writing, creating, teaching – for each of you, do these practices feed each other? Challenge each other? Bring out important or different aspects of each other that make them valuable to each other? Do your own ways of being with these three practices influence each other?
Hari Kirin In 2011, we have so many possibilities for connection, and creativity. It’s an amazing time to be alive but the trick is not to overload. I try to protect the space to do my sadhana to listen for the sometimes small voice soul.
Being a yogi and and artist is my life line to that voice. Teaching is the most fun. I’m a teacher because I had a great teacher, Yogi Bhajan. It makes me happy to pass on what I received in the most engaging way possible. Thomas and I have this intense life writing and working in the studio. For me, it’s a welcome change to go out and teach and focus on a community process.
Hari Kirin (continuing) My first book, Art and Yoga, Kundalini Awakening in Everyday Life will be released in June. I find writing demanding. I’ve been a painter for 40 years, so for me the painting is more of an on going process…so not as pressured. It’s one lifelong work that just punctuated with individual exhibits or canvases. I ‘m preparing now for an exhibition which runs April to July at the Brattleboro Museum in Vermont.
Susan (laughing) That’s quite a testimony to the energy of practice! Those are formidable projects on their own! Can you tell us a bit about each? What will readers find in your book? What is the focus of the exhibit or what was the invitation?
Hari Kirin (also laughing) Yea, it helps to get up at 4 am and take a cold shower.
The exhibition, “Wherever you are is the Center of the World” is a collaboration with another painter/yogi Susan Q. Brown. We play a game with google maps and paint where we land on the globe into these huge Mandalas. Each Mandala contains 40 locations and there are eight of them…it’s quite a strong experience of our earth. You feel the power and divinity of our planet in their presence. There will also be some cool events like a Gong performance/ Artist talk..and Thomas will be speaking in the exhibit about Art and Dream.
The book Art & Yoga, Awakening Kundalini in Everyday Life is everything I know after 40 years of these two practices- Art and Yoga. It provides step-by-step guidelines for practicing individually, in a group, or in community.
Yogis will find creative exercises to deepen their experience of yoga, and artists will discover simple, yet profound yoga and meditation practices that will help their creative process. If you teach yoga or art or if you work as a healer, there’s accessible and fun ways for you to incorporate the arts into your work.
I love the writing life
Susan And, what about your creative practices, Thomas?
Thomas Moore I love the writing life. I study and read and find inspiration in the great artists. Before writing a book, I usually read pages in Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf. I listen to Bach. I contemplate a Lucas Cranach painting. I believe in synaesthesia: the arts working together. Then, when I teach, I have many ideas and images wanting to get out into the world.
I try not to have a message. I don’t want to convert anyone to my way of thinking. I want to inspire them to think for themselves and enjoy the resources that I have found.
I think of a teacher as someone who shows people how to teach themselves.
Susan This is much in alignment with everyone learning how to heal, everyone being a healer, which you were talking about earlier.
Thomas It’s the same with healing. In my experience, as a psychotherapist I want to assist and witness as a person heals himself. If we split teacher from student and patient from doctor, the professional tends to become too strong and overbearing, the student and patient too passive.
Susan It seems to me in the same way you love the natural integration of your senses, both you and Hari Kirin also love the activity of working with your materials, of being embodied as part of the coming together of materials and creativity.
Thomas When I write a book, I want to make a beautiful object. I feel called on every day to be creative. Some days that particular demand is exhausting, but it also makes life worth living. For me, depression arrives when for one reason or another I haven’t had a creative day.
From religion to spirituality
Susan Quoting your Huffington Post blog, Thomas, “I’m not saying at all that we should go back to the religion of 50 years ago, but we should be aware that science is the new religion and that it demands our acquiescence as much as any religion ever did.”
Not since the immense wealth of the Renaissance churches have we seen average people willingly divert so much of their own income to purchase life and life chances. I’m certain 100 or 200 hundred years from now generations will be blown away by the totality of our faith in pharmaceuticals.
Addressing “science as the new religion” would be of immense interest to the community who are coming to participate in From Religion to Spirituality at Kripalu.
Hari Kirin For me it’s not science that is the danger, but thinking and living that lacks imagination. Can we live as human beings?
Can we bring the best of the spiritual traditions to the twenty first century- will we grow in love, compassion, kindness, intuition and our connection to the entire cosmos? I think each of us has a part of the answer.
Susan It’s really the case, isn’t it, that unless we consciously strive to participate, our passivity and disengagement make us instrumental to other agendas – maybe not agendas we we want to support.
Hari Kirin We are each responsible to deliver ourselves.
Thomas Both science and technology are exciting forms of human creativity. But today they want to dominate the way we think. Making them a religion takes away our devotion to other important things like art, spiritual practice, personal adventure, and an enchanted and magical life. It also tends to disparage history, and so we lose much of the wisdom of the past, just because people in the past were not scientifically sophisticated.
Susan I believe one of your interests is in seeing an integrated science – a human science.
Thomas I think we are now poised to bring human values and sensitivities to science and technology. We have allowed them to create an emotionally cool culture. It’s time to warm up and let technology serve important human needs.
Why can’t we make a car that is kind to our environment, our communities, the need for quiet and that is sensuous and affordable? I’m sure we can do it.
Greed gets in the way. We could design airplanes that make a passenger feel dignified and comfortable, while being affordable. It can be done, but we need the values and humane vision for it.
If technology can’t make us better human beings, then I don’t see it having a future.
Hari Kirin Kaur Khalsa is an artist and teacher dedicated to healing through yoga and art. She teaches workshops at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Monadnock Community Hospital /Bond Wellness Center, the Antrim Girls Shelter, Omega Institute for Holistic Health and a sliding scale class at the Union Mill in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
She trains Yoga teachers for KRI in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She is the author of Art & Yoga: Kundalini awakening in Everyday Life which will be released by KRI Summer 2011.
To view her workshops, paintings and public art events visit www.artandyoga.com Info on her April exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum: whereveryouareisthecenteroftheworld.com
Thomas Moore’s latest book, Care of the Soul in Medicine, represents his vision for improving health care. It spells out how health-care workers can care for their patients as whole persons—body, soul, and spirit. While sharing stories from his personal and professional life, he gives advice to both health-care providers and patients for maintaining dignity and humanity, providing spiritual guidance for dealing with feelings of mortality and threat, encouraging patients to not only take an active part in healing but also to view illness as a positive passage to new awareness.
Thomas has spent thirty years as a psychotherapist and knows firsthand the deep issues involved in suffering and healing. For this book in particular, he has participated in dozens of medical conferences, visited hospitals and medical schools in several countries, and dedicated two years, two days a month, to interviewing every kind of worker, from the CEO to the housekeeping staff of St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. Among the medical centers where he has lectured are McGill University Medical School, the University of Tennessee Medical School, the University of Minnesota program in Spirituality and Healing, the Mayo Clinic, NYU Cancer Center, Sloan-Kettering, Hermann Memorial in Houston, the Irish Hospice Foundation, and several smaller non-teaching hospitals and hospices.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.