Handwork Contemplation

a paper craft sculpture of a tree
The final assemblage of Mark R. Turner’s “Tree Puzzle” which can be downloaded from his Patreon shop, printed, colored, cut out and fit together yourself. See all the photos of making it on our new page “Crafts”.

Turn away from your screens and remember your sense of touch, the faculty of eye-hand coordination, the joy of making something tangible. To engage in that primitive activity which fascinated you as a child is to reawaken an essential part of being human. It gives your inner person an opportunity to feel your connection with other elements of earth and to exercise your position as a person in the image of God.

Doing a Puzzle Together

Thanks to the inventiveness of countless people, you can download pieces to a puzzle which I invented so that you can print, color, cut and fit them together. It is the second item in our Patreon.com/Markart/shop and it opens our new Horizongate.org web page “Crafts”.

This activity will help us overcome the distance of time and space between us so we can play together, think together and practice collaborating. If we will decide to take the time, I think we will regain the appreciation of each other and of all the creativity that makes it possible to do this. Sometime, somewhere some of us, while coloring, cutting, and fitting together these pieces, will realize we can create the better society, and that everyone is capable of doing part of the puzzle of life on earth.

So, this project is a kind of contemplative action which renews the soul and reconnects with the Whole. It promotes mental and spiritual health as we each allow ourselves to be the player we can be, with optimism of seeing beautiful results.

Ancient Spiritual Practice

In contemplative practices we speak of lectio divina which is the activity of reading meditatively to allow oneself to gain spiritual insight beyond the words of the text. Visio divina would be an activity of gaining spiritual insight from meditating on a visual, audio divina that of listening with spiritual insight. Almost any activity can nurture our inner self when done with calm sensitivity and mindfulness that our physical self can work with our spiritual self. I find this when I draw, sing, compose music, write poetry, tend my plants. Some find athletics and dance to be meditative and express spirituality, others working on an engine, woodworking, or shaping clay. The project I offer is meant to facilitate your spiritual meditation as you make physical expressions.

Perhaps we would call this project creatio divina, or spiritual creating. Although historically creatio divina was taught as the contemplation of the natural world, the insight that we are creators in the image of God expands the term to apply to our creative action. The crafting activity I send you can have spiritual effect when you allow yourself the time, space, and attitude to appreciate, yes, even love your true inner self being active in the world.

Having completed this project, you may continue this contemplative practice by inventing your own or joining as a free or paying member on Patreon.com/Markart to be notified when I invent another. In my own practice of creatio divina I have created an opportunity for community across time and space. As you participate in finishing the object, we are communing together. This activity helps us realize the Truth of connection between diverse people.

Expanding Community

Working on this project with others in person can expand it to generate community. You may find that there is too much cutting and coloring to do all on your own. So, you can invite help with all the pieces. (Some of the actions would be easier with a partner.) Groups can gather around the project. Teachers can print enough for several groups of students to work together on their own versions of the object. Displaying the finished objects will be an encouraging symbol of the group’s experience and a reminder of the fellowship they had around the activity. 

You could increase these revelations by photographing your version of the object and posting it online or sending the photo to me to post on my site. You can choose to be anonymous or send me your name with permission to credit your photo. I hope you can eventually experience creating your own puzzle to collaborate with others in building community and that we all will experience working together on solutions to the many puzzles of society.

Get your “Tree Puzzle” kit HERE. You may print as many copies as you need, but reselling copies of prints or the file is prohibited.  Share the experience with your circle of friends and family.