What is Meditative Art?
By: Mochita Shir Har-Lev
Learning how to use our personal creative gift in a positive and meditative way is a beautiful and satisfying experience that supports any harmonious lifestyle. Our Meditative Art retreats are an opportunity to learn how to reach a meditative state when expressing creativity.
Meditative Art has traditionally been a natural and integral part of spiritual paths; it is not a new modern age concept.
A matter of attitude
In the process of creating, two completely different attitudes can be present. The difference between the two will be expressed not only in the experience of the artist, but also in the masterpiece itself.
One approach is ego-based, where the sense of “I“ is placed firmly in the center. The “I” is expressing itself: “I create”, “I am the artist”, “I am healing myself through my art work”, etc.
In the second approach the sense of “I” as if moves aside or disappears; what remains is a hollow vessel through which something higher or greater can be expressed. For a believer this can be God, for the naturalists it may be nature, or different colors and shapes that wish to be expressed. In this process the artist is humble and receptive. This is the focus of Meditative Art classes – making ourselves available to that which is perfect to be presented.
Meditative Art is a spiritual practice in the process of creating
Whether one lives in beautiful natural surroundings or in a noisy, stressful environment it is a fundamental human need and wish to create. In a natural and harmonious surrounding one feels as if pulled to join and celebrate this beauty, while in a stressful city life one can find peace in expressing themselves and maybe even temporary refuge from negative influences.
We can use this normal and elementary need in many ways: to “mush” our past, express our frustrations or joy, understand our self – our fears and ‘dark-side’ or our hopes and dreams. We can also use this space to connect to harmony and beauty, to color and shape, utilizing the natural desire to create in order to support spiritual growth.
Learning and experience Meditative Art can be complementary to other spiritual practices such as Yoga, Tai chi and meditation. These combinations have been traditionally trivial in many different spiritual paths as the practices support each other and beautifully combine. Some of the more known examples from the east are: Chinese calligraphy, Indian Mandalas and Yantras, Tibetan sculpturing and drawing, Zen poetry and Whirling Sufi dance. While these expressions of Meditative Art are significantly different from one another, they all serve as spiritual practices, which makes each and every one of them an integral part of the religion or path from which they came from.
Meditation and Art
While “regular” art classes primary (if not only) interest is the end product (whether it be a painting, sculpture, composition or dance), Meditative Art classes place the state of mind of the artist as the main focus. The process of creating is also given importance, and the creator is both an artist and a witness, attentively observing the process as it takes place.
‘Why do I create?’ and ‘what for?’ are important questions that anyone who creates should ask themselves. For ones who practice Meditative Art, these questions are only a starting point on the search for meaning. Deeply inquiring ‘from where does a creation comes from?’ and ‘who is creating?’ can lead one to a meditative state from which real art can be reached.
Letting go of old expectations and conditioning as well as loosening one’s attachments towards their personal creativity is an essential part of the preparation needed in order to create from a meditative state of mind. Only when we are free to create or to let creation flow through us can we actually be “truthful” in our art. In this sense Meditative art can be seen as a part of a spiritual path and also as the end result.
Meditative Art is a spiritual practice, it is not Art Therapy
Art therapy is defined by the British Association of Art Therapists as “a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of communication”. As all therapies, art therapy aspires to help. The patients express themselves with the use of different forms of arts to release and resolve emotional difficulties and heal old
Another term that can be confused with Meditative Art is the contemporary term “Intuitive art” which aims to let one create without being limited to social conception, yet has no connection to spirituality. traumas. Meditative Art on the other hand brings one to the present moment, makes them aware and attentive, peaceful and quiet, connecting them to their ‘higher self’ or a higher power.
Just a few words on materials
Meditative Art can be naturally applied with the use of natural materials; this is not obligatory, yet the connection is not only traditional but also simply makes sense. Through playing with earth, wood and other natural materials one can connect to the basic elements and their qualities. Learning from their wisdom be can connect through them to the source.
Meditative Art Retreats
Meditative Art has always been an integral part of spiritual search. This can be seen whether we look to the east or the west. While many of the old arts and their wisdom are sadly disappearing from our world, the essence that lies beneath them can never die. Meditative Art School was created to help bring this essence into today’s creativity. We do so through our Meditative Art & yoga retreats that take place in especially inspiring locations around the world.
in all our programs we teach the theory and practice of Meditative Art along with daily practice of yoga and meditation. We emphasis an exploring a wide range of natural materials and observe the way the materials affect us.
We can learn to connect and merge or surrender into it the source of creativity, we can learn to do so with intention, practice and guidance. This core essence, this truth, pure love and divine beauty is real and eternal.