I’m writing this post to answer a request from one of my lovely students at a workshop I presented last weekend.
- Meditative art is art that can induce a meditative state, whether by looking at it or making it. Mostly it’s about the process of making with mindfulness.
- IT IS NOT art therapy, although it can be very therapeutic.
- Art therapy uses a range of art forms to release and resolve emotional difficulties and heal old traumas.
Mochita Har-Lev, who has been teaching meditative art for many years, describes it in these three ways: http://meditativeartschool.com/what-is-meditative-art
- Meditative Art…is a tool to bring one to the present moment, a practice of awareness and attentiveness, peacefulness and quietness. It is a way to connect within, to a ‘higher self’
- Meditative Art is a way to connect to ourselves though art. Not to analyse our negative and indulge within our dark side but to get in touch and expand our inner true self.
- This practice is a way of driving inwards to the source of creativity. We learn to quiet ourselves, listen and let creativity flow though us. (my italics)
Meditative Art is…
- A mindfulness practice. That means you’re aware of sensations in the moment
- It is slow and focused on what you’re doing
- Simple steps, but not too simple
- Involves repetition of colours, shapes and/or lines
- The work builds into something organically and easily, the opposite to striving
- There might be a vague plan on the one hand, and that plan can change in an instant as you respond to what has just happened on the other
- Because there are no expectations, the process allows for the unexpected and responds to it
- There’s a conscious letting go of harsh self-judgement and expectations when they come up
- There’s focus on the qualities of materials, mark making and growth of what is being made
- Making becomes immersive, time can become timeless and something gets created!
- The meditative creative process can be very enjoyable, fulfilling and replenishing
What are the benefits of making meditative art?
Studies have shown that stress hormones drop in ¾ of people who colour with mindfulness.
Triggered by the fight/flight response centre in the brain, stress hormones flood the circulation, redirecting energy away from vital organs to the muscles. Decreasing stress therefore improves digestion & healing processes, improves hormone balance, eases tension, headaches and neck pain and reduces adrenal fatigue.
Making meditative art can stop you from worrying. The more you become immersed in and enjoy the process, the biochemistry of the brain changes with release of Dopamine and Serotonin, relaxing ‘feel-good’ hormones.
Brainwaves changes from disorganised Beta to smooth Alpha, which will bring calm, clarity and greater problem solving ability.
Emotional & Spiritual
Meditative art making soothes the heart and provides rich sensory experience that short circuits the pattern of habitual worrying and bring lightness of being instead.
The calming effect can help us get back in touch with heart’s desires, sense of purpose and thereby give rise to hope for the future.
By consciously, patiently creating, we’re being kind to ourselves. Guided through creative processes, we can learn to be loyal to ourselves rather than harshly self-critical.
Over the last 10 years’ teaching meditative art, I’ve noticed there are qualities that make this kind of art-making different and conducive to Flow or being in the zone. Meditative art activities tend to …
- be repetitive but not so easy as to go onto auto-pilot
- be engaging/interesting without difficult choices
- use a range of colours that the individual enjoys
- use the hands and simple tools rather than machines
- keep evolving with no expectation as to how long it will take or how it might look
- be made slowly, carefully with full attention, without a phone!
- sets out with a meaningful intention which can change
- nurture flexibility as the project can change radically
- require and reward trust in the process, giving a sense of possibility and hope
My intention is to nurture the creativity of my students in a beautiful, quiet, peaceful environment, empowering them with skills and confidence as they see what they can do, while also fostering respect and gratitude for the tender, remarkable and vulnerable Creative Self.
‘SOLACE. COLOUR. LIGHT: MEDITATIVE ART’ is a 4 day retreat-course where you or a small group of friends experience 8 different meditative art projects while being cared for… Find out more here.
Thank you to all my course and workshop participants who have had the courage to make their meditative art. I’m so grateful to have worked with you and for allowing me to photograph you and show the images here – thank you so much!