Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton
Meditative Art, or Reflective Mantra Art as I like to call it, has traditionally been a natural and integral part of spiritual paths worldwide; it is not a modern new-age concept. Some well-known examples of meditative art from the east are: Chinese calligraphy, Indian Mandalas and Yantras, Tibetan sculpturing and drawing, Zen poetry and Whirling Sufi dance. Buddhists create intricate sand mandalas, circular designs with concentric shapes, that are intentionally swept or washed away upon completion. These creations are a meditation on life’s impermanence.
Meditative Art is not art therapy, but a tool to bring one to the present moment. It is a way of driving inwards to the source of creativity, a way to connect within to a “higher self” or a “higher power” or the “creator.” It is a tool to get in touch with and to expand our inner true self, a tool to practice awareness, attentiveness, peacefulness and quietness. In the process of creating, we learn to quiet ourselves, to listen and to let creativity flow though us. Just like any other meditation, focusing our concentration on one thing helps us in breaking free from the constant debilitating chatter of the mind and helps us discover our inner space to connect to harmony and beauty.
This is the focus in a Meditative Art practice – making ourselves available to that which is perfect to be presented.
The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same, day in, day out! When a person manages to get totally immersed in a creative endeavour, he/she may find themselves in what’s known as “the zone” or in a state of “flow.” This meditative-like state focuses the mind and temporarily pushes aside all worries. Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to the environment. In this way, it acts like meditation. It has the power to increase feelings of empathy, tolerance and love.
I personally stumbled on mantra art!
About 30 years ago, after attending a retreat where the mantra “waheguru” was used for meditation, I intuitively started writing the word in a picture. It appealed to me and then spoke to me – Indeed, if all creation is energy and vibrating particles, then this happened to depict it beautifully.
I was ecstatic!!
I love this practice of writing the mantra into paintings while contemplating or reflecting (Thus it became “Reflective Mantra Art”) on the Master’s Omnipresence, Omniscience & Omnipotence. I encourage everyone to try it.
Art is for everyone!
Within each of us lies a spark of creativity.
The good news is that unlike math, there is no one correct answer in art.
It is about the journey — not about the end product.