Our world hungers and thirsts for beauty. It's in our DNA, that miracle of neurobiology that sets us apart from the rest of God's good creation. Nowhere is our passion for the aesthetic more apparent than in drama, painting, music, film, and video (to name but a few).
The Apostle Paul tells us to renew our minds (Romans 12), a sophisticated and often neglected discipline that involves controlled breathing, spatial awareness, and refocusing our attention through meditative prayer. Monks have practiced this kind of spiritual discipline for centuries producing classic theologies of work and rest.
Similarly, recent studies in neuroscience have revealed that the visual and movement arts can renew our minds as well. Whether it's a photo, a song, or a theatrical performance the artist influences our thoughts and feelings by activating the resonance circuits of our right-side brain. Once activated, they begin forging neural pathways to the more logical, sequential networks centered in the left-side brain. Like an endless waterfall, the untamed beauty of artistic expression becomes an endless potential to assist the integration, and thus, the renewal of our minds.
Since classical antiquity art has been prescribed as an integral part of a balanced education. Today, you'll find it specialized counseling and therapy settings as a means of healing and recovery for a variety of mental health patients, including those with post-traumatic-stress disorder, or PTSD. Art is more than just a device of commercial entertainment; it's also a breath-taking source of life, rejuvenation, redemption, and a spiritual pathway towards the discipleship of our minds.