Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Focus on the Positive Path Forward, Not the Negative Path of the Past"

This year's Parliament theme was "Hearing Each Other, Healing the Earth," with a strong focus on indigenous peoples. These are cultures whose voices have gone unheard of for so much of Western history, but remain closer than most of us to the Earth, while many of our "civilized" cultures have become far removed from the natural world. 

Many sessions were held by indigenous spiritual leaders, whose cultures and peoples have been sorely mistreated by others, and in some cases, have had their traditions almost eradicated. Many of these peoples had restrictions imposed on them, making practicing their religions illegal. Indigenous leaders had a great deal to speak about at the Parliament, and at times emotions were high. After one session held by Aboriginal Elders, audience members were coming up front to shake hands and I heard more than one European-descent Australian say,"I'm sorry." Those are powerful transformative words. 

Consistently, the aborigional elders talked of the present and future, and making things better now and for their grandchildren. They offered this advise not just as their own philosophy for moving forward after being wronged, but as advise to be taken by everyone, especially in regard to the care of the Earth, our home. 

Friday, February 26, 2010

Deepening wisdom is a result of listening to nature.

-- HH Vishwagura Mahamand Eleshwar Paramhans

During the Parliament of the World's religions, I attended the "Convocation of Hindu Spiritual Leaders", where about thirty yogis, gurus, saints and mystics from multiple regions of the world converged to speak about bringing wisdom, peace, and harmony to ourselves and our planet. His Holiness Vishwagura Paramhans spoke of the process of gaining wisdom as directly related to the process of listening -- to nature, which is all around us and in us. The process of listening, in this sense, means not just hearing words, but paying close attention to the actions, sights, sounds, processes, cycles and experiences that are happening close to us, and being open to the wisdom contained within. 

Listening to nature also requires listening to the needs and perspectives of others, and trying to work into our own actions, respect for their existence, not just acting with preference to our own needs. If we do this, we live our lives in balance with the flow of the energy of the world around us, and we don't waste energy fighting against it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wisdom from the Parliament

With so many perspectives on the human condition, and the condition of the world, the Parliament of the World's Religions was overwhelming, and took several months to even begin to process.

As a way of beginning this process, and gaining a deeper understanding of the wisdom gathered at the Parliament, we have begun to craft a Parliament Book, combining illuminated quotes with skywheel-esque designs. These gems of wisdom come from notes that we all took while attending the various spiritual observances, and lectures at POWR. Some of the quotes come directly from the speakers, others are distillations or common themes that were brought up numerous times by leaders of many different faith groups.

The photo included in this post is one of about thirty in the works. In the future, we will include more of this illuminated wisdom, with the addition of a few notes about the background of the quotes and related speakers to give a sense of context. Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Skywheel 2009, a Retrospective

It's been almost a year since United Catalysts began to work on the Skywheel Project. The year of 2009 was all about planning and brainstorming, meeting with rocket scientists, and people of various faiths and cultures including attending the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia.
In short, it has been an exciting year.

As a studio assistant, it's been amazing for me to watch the artists Kim Garrison and Steve Radosevich steadily bring a seemingly inconceivable project to life. It was  wonderful to see how warmly the Skywheel project was received by all of the religious leaders, scholars and people from all over the world that we met at the Parliament. I feel it has truly struck a chord in all of us and already, even in it's nascent stage, has become a focal point to bring together people of all beliefs and walks of life while honoring the beauty of our individuality.

And what lies in store for the Skywheel Project in 2010, you may wonder?
This year, Kim and Steve will focus their creative energies on  the artistic facets of the Skywheel Project, including a series of Skywheel related prints and designs for the satellite itself. And while they return to the studio to make wonderful skywheel art, I will be sending invitations to religious and spiritual leaders to create a panel of advisors for the project and keeping all of you, the friends of the Skywheel Project, updated on our adventure as it unfolds.