If you are an artist, it is likely that at some point you have wanted to scream at a blank canvas. When we are not in the right state of mind, art can be agony. It can seem like our mind is blocking us from our own expression and keeping us from our art. Meditation expands the mind. By using meditation before and during the creative process, we positively impact not just our art, but how we view it. Through meditation, we learn to drop our sense of self. While much of art is viewed as self-expression, it can actually improve our art to be more selfless. Expanding our mind past the boundaries we put on our own identity, frees us up to greater expression. Rather than limiting what we create to be based only on our story, our experiences and our beliefs, we can achieve a more pure and unfiltered expression through implementing the practice of meditation. Whether or not you are an artist, everyone can profit from a healthier and more productive state of mind. It doesn’t matter if you plan to showcase your art. All that matters is that you feel rejuvenated and healthier having realized all the physical and spiritual advantages of mindful creating.
What are the positive effects that meditation has on the brain?
When we meditate, the cortical thickness of our brains increase in areas related to introspection and attention. The areas of our brain responsible for positive emotions and self-control increase in volume. Our grey matter in areas involved with thought and memory increase.
How do we apply this to creating?
With areas so integral to creation operating at a higher capacity, we can create in a mind space that is free from self-doubt and insecurity. Creating after meditation is improvisational. In improv, we are taught the rule of “yes, and…” This means that we accept the situation, and will grow upon it. Creating is similar. Rather than allowing mental blocks to hinder or even stop our creative progress all together, we can expand our mind past those blocks through meditation. Instead of scouring the mind for inspiration and allowing anxiety to set mental blocks along the way, meditate. Clear the mind entirely. Then create. If you mess up or make a mistake, accept the situation and grow upon it. Meditation’s ability to increase our emotional regulations keeps us from crumpling up the paper or tossing the paint brush. The increased positivity from meditation will set a foundation of bliss that will allow for less emotional disruptions. So much of creating is just having the confidence to accept your talent and let it take over. A strong self-confidence garnered from meditation will take your art and emotional wellbeing to the next level.
Can art help our meditation?
Yes! Just as meditation can feed into our art, our art can feed into our meditation. Art can have a healing effect on mental maladies like depression, PTSD, anxiety, trauma and other illnesses. It is an outlet for expression that allows us to be in the moment and strengthen our voice. Our art acts as a mirror, and gives another way to reconnect with a positive self image. If we allow it, art nourishes the soul. As we heal the wounds that we don’t expose to others, we are helping ourselves, and bolstering our sense of self-reliance and self-confidence. This translates to our meditation because we enter into it at an already elevated state. Our mental output is increased, and by exercising our brain, we can reach higher levels of meditation.
What are some examples of meditative art?
Mindful art can be as simple as a coloring book. Coloring books are an easy and positive way to introduce colorful choices that you make on a subconscious level. It takes your mind to a calm, peaceful places where it focuses on nothing except the task at hand. By the end, you will have created something beautiful and achieved a sense of mental serenity in the process. Another mindful art activity is simply embellishing blank bookmarks or cards. Relieve your mind, and begin to draw on the cards. You may be surprised by the patterns or beauty that arise out of this intuitive focus. If you would like to use this method to help in your own art, meditate before attempting to create. Then, instead of jumping into an old project, create a free work. Whether it’s free writing, painting or drawing, simply put your pen or artistic instrument to the page, and allow your mind to guide it where it wants to go. Let the free flow of creation overcome the desire to edit. Don’t stop until you have emptied your mind, and the flow has dried. This can be an effective way to shake off mental blocks, stimulate motivation and provide the spark of inspiration you need for more thoughtful pieces.