Tabernacles of Silence: Embodying Sacred, Cultivating Empathy as a Practice of Healing
A collaboration between the PMA, USM Art Department and Beacon Sober Living
June 4, 2020 6PM – 7:30PM
A program inspired by the exhibition Tabernacles for Trying Times – Carrie Moyer & Sheila Pepe at the Portland Museum of Art
This program is an introduction into cultivating empathy. The phenomenon first recognized in the early 20th century has roots in aesthetics and art appreciation – as a powerful, passive exchange that occurs between artist and art observer through a work of art.
All are welcome to join this community contemplative practice – to pay attention to phenomena in and around the body, develop a relationship with Silence, move into a place of heartfulness, and allow for encounters with empathy.
During the guided (30-minute) practice, we enter into the tabernacle, or dwelling place, of Silence, place the fullness of our attention within the body, and experience the empathetic capacities of the heart.
By placing our attention – a great gift of our being – into our physical bodies and observing the experience, we begin to encounter empathy, which eventually allows us to place ourselves, in a feeling, sensing way, into another. Empathy cannot be manufactured, it simply grows out of the pure, selfless activity of the heart. There will be time at the end to share impressions from the practice.
In Tabernacles for Trying Times, Carrie Moyer and Sheila Pepe created a sanctuary for all kinds of people to worship at the altar of contemporary art, Pepe noting “art can be a place for secular spirituality.” So, too, can one’s own secular space transform into a sacred dwelling place, or tabernacle.
Participants are encouraged to prepare their own tabernacles ahead of time. Don't fret! This can be as simple as clearing the space around you or bringing a special object into view. Look at your dwelling place with fresh eyes. What do you see? Look out your windows and doors – even go outside! What calls to you? If you like, bring something from the natural world into your tabernacle (or invite a houseplant or favorite stone to join you).
Take some time in creating your tabernacle. Given time and space, the sacred arises out of the secular.