Spirit in Stone: What Unites Us
At the Spiral House, we are inspired by love, beauty, and compassion. These values arise from our higher selves and motivate us to live as we believe human beings were meant to. In the East, it has been wisely said of spiritual work that you can’t get there by trying and you can’t get there without trying. There is nowhere to go, nothing to be. We are already light and love. “Your task is not to seek for love,” wrote the Sufi poet Rumi, “but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
In a culture that is increasingly marked by violence, political discord, and, materialism, it is not surprising that many of us are turning our attention to love, community, and a deeper understanding of the Truth within us for relief. If anything is certain, it is that we are so much more than we think we are. Our egos tell us who and what but there is a deeper place further inside: the place of the heart. And it is within the power of each one of us to open our hearts to its Truth.
Truth is one. We call it by different names and seek it according to our individual understanding and natures. There is no one spiritual path at the Spiral House other than the expression of love and compassion. Each one of us is on his or her own journey of awakening.
Tom Gottsleben’s art is informed by this path of awakening. Both the creation and the experience of art foster the highest possibilities of the soul. “Truth and beauty are one,” Tom believes. “For me, Truth reveals itself through the expression of beauty.”
When our hearts are deeply touched by art and beauty, we are able, as Rumi said, to release some of the barriers to love. Love inspires our minds and souls and directs our focus to Truth, awakening our consciousness. This is the noblest purpose of art.
The secret to love is not how much one is loved, but how much love one feels for others. Our potential for love is limitless. The more we love and the purer that love is, the happier we are. That is why we have chosen to work together here in a community of shared values, seeking to grow through our mutual influence.
Yet, on the journey to pure awareness, there is often considerable suffering. For this reason most of us have chosen to live a vegan lifestyle. Looking into the eyes of a saint is no different than looking into the eyes of an animal. To gaze within the eyes of either is to gaze within ourselves. The Sanskrit term for compassion is ahimsa (do no harm). In the West, we call it nonviolence. It is a major tenet of many religions — Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism among them. It implies not harming other living beings in any way. In the process, we learn how not to injure ourselves.
At least, this is our aspiration.