‘In the moment of art, you lose yourself and find yourself at the same time. You have to let it go, to live fully in the moment, to fully experience all possibilities within that moment, to lose it all, to let it all go. It is a true contemplation of Being through art.’ ~ Saul Williams
Art Work: An Introduction
Embedded within a number of cultures and traditions is the practice of art as a spiritual practice. Art and creative practices are varied, personalised and can act as a form of expressive meditative practice.
Art and creative practices plays many roles in the spiritual life, from the practice and appreciation of art inducing a flow state or mindful disposition (or mindful ‘doing’) to the practice of art acting as a form of therapy for self-expression and healing. Additionally, various art forms are iconographic, which hold further spiritual traditions and finally, artistic practices can act as a form of integration.
The Important Role of Art Across Cultures: Ever-Ancient, Ever-Modern
Art and creative practices as part of spiritual practice might include one or more of the following:
- Drawing, painting and crafting mandala, enso, kintsugi, labyrinth, yantra and thangka;
- Journalling, creative writing of poetry or prose and other forms of writing;
- Engaging in unstructured or free-flow dance, music, writing and other creative practices.
‘Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.’ ~ Pablo Picasso
Art and Creative Practices as Generative Meditative Practices
Art and Creative Practices as Spiritual, Therapeutic and Transcendental
Art deepens our appreciation of the various and varying ways in which each person experiences God. This means that art does not just make the physical environment more attractive nor is our mission simply to honor artistic gifts. Art in its many forms challenges us to respect and honor the differences among us in imagining and understanding the Divine. In this sense, the art and spirituality program cultivates a dimension of the hospitality that grounds a monastic community. Art is about perspective – having a perspective, finding perspective, and appreciating the limits and gifts of one’s perspective.
Recommended Further Reading
See also: Meditative Arts; Etsy Store