Meditation, Art & Yoga
By: Mochita Har-Lev
Meditative Art, yoga and meditation are different spiritual practices; they are not therapies in essence. Although they are all successfully applied as therapies – this is not their essential purpose. Let us look into the connection between these practice.
State of mind
When we create in a meditative way, the artist’s state of mind is that which is of the most important, unlike in regular art classes, which give the main importance is the masterpiece created, or to the emotions and ideas of the artist.
Imposing our personal concept or thoughts on our artwork, we are unavailable to allow creativity to be expressed through us. The difference here is not semantic; it is a completely different attitude to art. Creating in a meditative way is not an active action – “I create”, rather it is a passive state, in which we make ourselves available – as in meditation.
Spiritual practice is not a therapy
The essential aim of spiritual practice is spiritual growth, unlike therapy, we connect to a higher or nor bigger power and surrender to it in attempt to merge into it or realize our true nature. Meditation, Yoga and Meditative Art are not therapies in essence, even though they are commonly applied as therapies and are very beneficial both to the body and mind. Never the less their real purpose is not therapeutically.
The use of art therapy, yoga therapy and meditation therapy is so commonly confused with the spiritual essence of these practices, that there is a need to clearly explain and specify this.
Meditative practice – a receptive action
When we sit meditation we are not “doing” in an active way, rather we are allowing ourselves to “undo”, to let go of the habitual mind behavior we have because so accustomed to. We are learning to remain attentive and present so that meditation can happen. This is a “passive action”, in which we put effort not to disturb the balanced and normal state of mind that we have long forgotten. This may sound simple and it is in fact indeed simple, only we have become so complicated. We now, must learn to simplify our self in order to return to a receptive and surrendered state, where can trust and let go, so that magic can happen.
Correct reasons to create / correct reasons to meditate
If one can just sit and meditate for hours or days at a stretch and be content with this alone the thrust to create dose not arise, yet if this desire arises it can arise it can be due to a few different reasons. These reasons can be labeled as’ good’ or ‘correct’ reasons and other reasons that have a therapeutically value.
‘Good reasons’ are reasons for a healthy and happy person to create; they are not born from the need to process old traumas and difficulties. “Good reasons” are not in contrast to “bad reasons”, they simply respond to the natural wish to create, the essential wish to join and play in the divine masterpiece.
Similarly, the same phenomena can be seen in the spiritual world of yoga and meditation. When we sit meditation or perform yoga as spiritual practice we are “using” meditation and yoga in correct way. What is meant by the term “correct” is that we use these practices for what they were meant for, which is spiritual growth. On the other hand, applying yoga or meditation as therapy is not wrong, yet it is not what yoga and meditation have been created for. Using meditation or yoga as therapies can be very beneficial, it can helps to maintain and heal many body and mind disorders, yet is not the purpose of these practices. These therapies can facilitate in preparing one for spiritual practice but let us not get confused with the essence of their original nature as tools to evolve spiritually.
Meditation, Energy work & Meditative Art
As meditative artists, we also practice meditation and some form of energy work (- such as Yoga or Tai Chi). To practice Meditative Art we need to practice both art and meditation. We must be both artists and true spiritual seekers. Without a regular and routine meditation practice, our art cannot remain pure and in-tune. We keep our spiritual progress as our ultimate goal and use regular meditation sessions as its base. Furthermore, dedicated and continuous meditation practice helps us also to develop and sustain strong willpower, concentration, patience and peace of mind.
In addition to the above we also add to our daily schedule a session of body-energy work. In general, any physical-energetic work is beneficial for everyone, but is of great importance to those who wish to grow spiritually. Whether this work is yoga, tai-chi, chi-kong or any other practice is irrelevant. What is important is that the practitioner works to his/her body in a holistic way. This work will help us develop a deep connection with our body and an understanding how to work with it. This will directly support us in our Meditative Art practice.
Furthermore, working with the body on an exegetical level facilitates us in different ways. A natural flow of vital energy (- prana or chi) throughout the body helps us not only to stay healthy and peaceful, but also helps us say intone with ourselves, develop and sustain flexibility, stamina and strength. Regular practice will also assist to increase dedication, willpower and ability to surrender. These qualities are all significant to sustain a balanced life, inner harmony, and support spiritual growth.