Bottoming Out Into New Life
"Brooklyn, I'm broken, I'm breaking apart."
Spirituality as Freedom from Addiction
Music Videos as Springboards
For Spiritual Self-Reflection
If you want to think about different forms of spirituality, perhaps the music video for Hem's Tourniquet can be your guide. It is an encounter with animal spirits: shamanic journeying. It is riddled with pain and regret: skepticism and doubt. It wrestles with the familiar neighborhoods of Brooklyn, albeit in alienated ways: local community and spirituality of ordinary life. Its uplifting tone and playful images have a poignant levity to them: humor and playfulness. It tells the story of someone coming to grips with interior movements of the soul: integration of conscious and unconscious. It gives a sense of the courage it may take someone to make it through another day: true grit. It tells a story about bottoming out and seeking new life: creative transformation.
In these and many other ways, the song Tourniquet and its video embody various forms of spiritual experience that are found in the many world religions. The song and video also illustrate the more general possibility that music videos can be springboards for spiritual self-reflection, in whatever Brooklyn we find ourselves.
In the reflection below -- Bottoming Out Into New Life -- I offer one such reflection, based on a theological tradition called process theology. Process theology is a constellation of ideas influenced by the thinking of the late philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead. It is embraced by people belonging to different religions and by people who are "spiritual but not religious" according to their own self-understanding. The sixteen forms of spirituality identified in the diagram on the left all make sense from a process point of view.
A Story Behind the Song