Explore the Gift of Art, “a Litmus Test of the Soul”

Art at the Center of Our Lives
By Shajen Joy Aziz, M.Ed.

This week, we’re celebrating the art of Paul Heussenstamm, the fine artist whose mandala art appears in our film, Discover the Gift.

Art has always been central in our lives.

Our parents, Richard and Fonda, both artists, met in New York City late in the summer of 1962. Richard was a student at The School of Visual Arts, via the Israel Academy of Art, by way of the Polish Academy of Art. Fonda later became president of the Vermont Counsel on the Arts – she was an art teacher, a community leader, an activist, a spiritual leader, an herbal shaman.

Growing up, our home was filled with the Gift of creative possibility.

My brother Demian and I could slide down two flights of stairs on a rope from Demian’s bedroom to the kitchen. We had a music room with a piano, drums, guitars and harmonicas. We also had a two-story green house, a sauna, an eighty-foot deck, and what felt like hundreds of small nooks and crannies waiting for us to explore and play in. Rooms had their own purposes: dedicated to music and art as well as health and fitness. We were happy. Our mother loved us. Our home felt like a castle in the sky, in which we imagined we would play forever.

Many things changed for us in a big way, but we continue to keep art at the center of lives: filmmaking, painting, playing music. It’s more than creative expression, it’s spiritual expression.

Paul Heussenstamm communicates this beautifully when he talks about his sacred art:

“What I have come to know is that my art, all art, is a litmus test of the soul. From the ego-mind level, paintings and art are beautiful and moving. From the perspective of the soul, or the mind’s eye, paintings reveal the energy currents and symbols of the painter’s unconscious, and in many cases, the collective unconscious.

I use the word unconscious to mean that which we carry intrinsically as human beings, but do not know consciously. Therefore, the unconscious is limitless, vast and a life long journey of exploration. Once you have discovered your unconscious, it is the beginning of the great journey of soul alignment and development. Through this work of exploring the soul, I have realized the essence of measuring the soul: the range of feelings and the sense of presence you carry.

Paintings contain the intrinsic soul quality of the artist and intrinsic patterns of our collective intelligence. This is why art has such great value. It reveals that which cannot be said and it makes visible the invisible. From the soul’s perspective, all paintings are alive, breathing, pulsating, dancing, glowing, carrying the forces of the unconscious.”

For beautiful notes on the meaning of each chakra, check out Paul Heussenstamm’s guest post, Renew Yourself Through Mandala Art.

Mandala image courtesy of Mandala Artist Paul Heussenstamm, mandalas.com

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One Comment


  1. Sep 28, 2011
    8:22 am

    Ian Mcconomy

    “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu

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