Art Meditation

 
Creativity is the fragrance of individual freedom.
— Osho
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Through specific artistic practices we can take steps to become more creative and more meditative. Techniques help in unraveling and releasing collected ideas and beliefs, allowing each individual to be free to be themselves. To live life as you want to live.

This is because creative practice is the practice of being innovative; you can be creative only if you are an individual, if you're yourself. Without this, any art form is merely copying, is merely becoming a skilled technician. The talent of the artist is in the ability to drop all the mind's conditioning and find the essence of originality. This is also the definition of meditation; clearing the mind and connecting to the inner self.

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for mental clarity and connection to grace:

Indian Miniature Painting

Indian Miniature Painting can be used as an active meditation because it is extremely effective at highlighting any disconnect between the body and mind.

The technique is so delicate that to achieve the fine line-work of the style, the body first needs to be very still and then each stroke is executed with precision and control. If the mind is not concentrated, if many thoughts are coming up, then the brush strokes will become jerky and the mark in the paint will reveal that break in concentration. The mind and the breath must become calm and steady, so that the brush strokes are also calm and steady.  The painting is an extension of the breath.

In Indian Miniature Painting, the artists’ technique embodies the teachings of yoga, where it is known that the mind and body are connected through the breath.  The artists thus work like yogis, stilling the mind and connecting to the internal source so that everything becomes steady and the art flows from within, from the heart.  Immersed in the practice, the artist will sit calmly in a cross legged position and will use breath retention techniques to still the body and mind in order to achieve the most delicate of lines.

The effort that is required to paint finely and produce the image will therefore train the artist to calm the mind and control the body; the delicate work requires immense concentration. The thoughts must drop away for the focus to stay consistent, and in those moments of calmness you are simply yourself. The stillness will then feed back into the brush strokes, and the artist becomes more connected to the painting -each stroke is an extension of yourself. Over time, the elegance of the final images comes from a deeply rooted elegance of character.

My teacher Sri Ramu Ramdev talks of this art as seeing from the heart rather than through the eyes.  Instead of looking out to the perceived world for its inspiration, this art form is about looking within and finding a connection to the divine.  By first centering through concentration, devotion can enter the practice and every stroke becomes a prayer, a gesture of grace and an offering of your own true voice.

...if it helps you to become silent, still, joyous; if it gives you a celebration, if it makes you dance -whether anybody participates with you or not is irrelevant. If it becomes a bridge between you and God, that is true art. If it becomes a meditation, that is true art. If you become absorbed in it, so utterly absorbed in it that the ego disappears, that is true art.
— Osho
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for connection to purpose and strengthening your true voice:

Sadhana Creative Expression

Sadhana is daily spiritual practice and is a personal, individual effort. By rising early and practicing meditative techniques that make you feel like you, you are able to start each day from a place of truth. And then everything that you meet in your day is in reference to you, and is less likely to become a reaction to the noise of the mind.

Combining expressive art practice with other meditations is an effective way to strengthen individuality and become familiar with expressing your own voice. You definitely don't need to consider yourself artistically talented in order to do this. You don't need any prior experience. In fact this is all about turning off that inner critic and that idea of comparison. We shift the focus away from critiquing the artwork itself, and use art as a process to develop skills that will allow you to live an original and abundant life.

Adding art practice into sadhana means applying effort to strengthen creativity, which will shift the way that the mind sees the world and develop the ability to see new solutions in old and recurring problems. It's a way to work on altering perspective so that everything becomes more expansive, more open, less restrictive. 

At our very nature we're creative beings, we are alive because we are creative -it's how you came into this world!  So taking up a practice that allows you to be creative is an effective way to tap into who you are, at your very source, and then show up as that best version of yourself. Use art as a way to tune into your essence, so that you can express yourself in a way that is in alignment with your truth and connect authentically with everything around you. A world of opportunity opens up.