Improvisation, ‘Gorge’ by Wassily Kandinsky, 1914

Kandinsky says,

The artist must be blind to distinctions between “recognized” or “unrecognized” conventions of form, deaf to the transitory teaching and demands of his particular age. He must watch only the trend of the inner need, and hearken to its words alone. All means are sacred which are called for by the inner need. All means are sinful which obscure that inner need… We have before us the age of conscious creation, and this new spirit in painting is going hand in hand with the spirit of thought towards an epic of great spiritual leaders.

I am testament to God’s challenging sense of humor. He made me an artist but withheld creativity and relinquished my imagination at a premature age. I also fell in love with his wilderness and abhorred “his” ritual. I wasn’t given eyes to see how the world worked, the gears and mechanics of human invention and institution; but I was given vision to see it from a great distance so as to know its whole context, how it fit into all-worlds. 

For instance, all literature and art to which I’ve been exposed is to emphasize the internal struggle between old and new, this and that, and all dichotomous conflicts that bind us to matter; and ultimately, it is to teach future generations and those outside time, that by nature, the soul cannot compromise.

Another theme, anywhere in this world, is that governments are never good. But this vision, or far, star-sighted perspective not only did not distinguish my eyes as reputable vessels of God’s design, it became a punitive measure as my fellow man looked on me with wary eyes, as one opposed to a perfectly progressive culture. And the so-called Christians were among the harshest, speaking with their mouths that they would (purple dinosaur-) love me no matter what, but never cared to ask my story. They were already dead-set on “giving a voice to the voiceless” (ugh, that intolerable, self-congratulatory phrase) wherein the illusion of giving mattered far more than the voice, which had actually been making waves all along.

There too were paranoid types, focusing on calling everyone else out for being a false prophet, their own eager judgment and scriptural retorts keeping them from hearing the living word of Christ, reigning in human hearts. (Psalm 98 is an important one for our task because it is an invitation to psalms, to write and live our own; to be singers and musicians but not be bound forever — as if our lives were futile — to all that’s been already said. Nowhere else in the bible do I see such an inspiring call to listen to God’s words beating in my heart now: to worship authentically.)

There was even a time spent in untrusting places where everyone had to have a covert agenda, and if you did not, then they trusted you even less! They assumed I was a spy so I became a spy. What poet isn’t? Crazy too, for we will never be understood by those who share the times, only by those outside them. The solution is to mend the world so there is no inside and outside. But no one, save for the soul of God, knows how. In God we trust. And in Wassily Kandinsky. We can trust him too.

2013, Amaya Engleking



  1. cindy knoke · May 27, 2017

    How fascinating!

  2. Nickel Boy Graphics · May 27, 2017

    I enjoyed this so much that I read it twice. I may even read it again. I’m unsure why I like this so much, but the words and ideas have been put together like brushstrokes on a canvas. I don’t mean that to be saying, “you’ve painted a picture with your words” (like how people describe a thing in writing. It’s like however Kandinsky applied paint, whatever his heart was experiencing and communicating, that feeling, that creative place feels to me like your words feel to me. (That may not make any sense, and if it doesn’t I’m sorry. It’s just that I really enjoyed reading this.)

  3. Mary Brearley · May 28, 2017

    This made me think. I like that challenge very much!

  4. racheltejas · May 28, 2017

    Lovely, and terrifying in its own way. I am reminded, in your vision of the soul, of some of the Upanishads and the conception of the Atman (great soul, great Self – the Universal kind) being both of time and outside time, and how this tension can never be solved except through faith. – rachel

    • Gospel Isosceles · June 17, 2017

      Rachel, reading and contemplating the Bhagavad Gita in my mid-twenties had an immense role in bringing my soul back to God and my spirit back to life. I couldn’t “hear” the sacred words of the Western canon of holy text, but somehow (God knows!) Krishna inviting Arjuna into spiritual battle on the field of Kurukshetra spoke profoundly to me and I realized that it was my life’s purpose too: to fight for the soul. Then, slowly, I was able to comprehend religious scripture and understand something that brought great joy to my troubled heart: that there is one Faith and the search for God unites us all who offer their life for it.

      If you ever offer a yoga retreat, please let me know as I want to study with you. (I don’t live far from Denver.)

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