Art & Meditation
By: Mochita Har-Lev
Meditative Art is a process of applying creativity in a meditative state of mind. It is a fascinating way to connect to the source of all beauty – the source of all. Using our desire to express as a spiritual practice, as a means for inner growth and development, is an experience through which we can touch and go beyond all experiences.
Effects of Meditative Art on the Practitioner
In using art as a tool for spiritual growth, we discover the effects that different art forms, colors, shapes and materials have on us. Creative work affects us in a direct way, transforming us in the process, while also inspiring us. By applying art as a spiritual practice, the artist or the practitioner discovers not only the way to be receptive, but also the way external actions affect us within.
Let us look at a few practical examples that clarify and illustrate these statements. We can take, for instance, the art of sculpting in stone. Sculpting, as is any spiritual practice, in essence, is a process of transformation. When sculpturing, through removing of the unnecessary, the artist brings out a defined shape from the stone. This action can be seen as similar to the way the divine master transforms the spiritual seeker.
Art for inner progress
By using sculpting as a meditative practice, we can directly realize the two basic aspects of spiritual progress: on the one side we observe the way the stone allows us to do with it as we please, understanding the meaning of real surrender, while on the other side, as the artist, we can tap into the essential work of a creator. We can also feel and see the way external actions influence us internally. Meditative sculpting also teaches us the importance of letting go of that which is excessive, removing the unnecessary, or that which is disturbing, in order to create and give distinct borders. We learn this, not on a theoretical level, but through our own experience. This understanding actually works upon us, just as we work and transform the sculpture.
Let us take another example, another form of art – felting. The process of felting is condensing and giving shape to wool, either with water and soap or with the use of a needle. By using this artwork as meditative practice, we utilize the repetitive action, which results not only in an art product, but in an inner effect – a sense of focus and “coming together”.
The influence of action and attitude
Any action we perform externally has an internal affect. We can see this truth work, not only in the field of art, but in any other field. For instance, speaking lovingly, softly, with sweet words of care and affection, creates this positive and affirmative effect within; while swearing, shouting harshly and insulting words result in a negative feeling.
When we realize, through direct experience, that there are clear implications to each of our actions, not somewhere above the sky but right here and now, natural mindfulness develops within, expanding into our actions, words and thoughts. Being present and attentive, we flow through life, rather than fight with it. We are open and free from expectation and we trust that all that comes our way is for us to learn from, a lesson to help our inner growth.
Spiritual development is a process of learning how to be in the present, moment to moment. It is a road that leads us back home, to our real True Self and divine source.