This is another article in my stress management strategies series “How to Cope with Stress.” We have so far discussed various meditation methods: working meditation, writing meditation, walking meditation, sleep meditation, visualisation meditation, breathing meditation and Christian meditation. Today we look at Art Meditation: what it is and how to practice it.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
What is Art Meditation? Art meditation allows us to focus on the process of creation while allowing our thoughts to drift by without engaging with them or reacting to them. According to Eckhart Tolle, “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past… This false self is never happy or fulfilled for long. Its normal state is one of unease, fear, insufficiency, and non-fulfillment.” Art can help us connect to a deeper and calmer part of ourselves. “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness,” according to Tolle.
Although many of us have heard about the extensive benefits of meditation, some of us find traditional sitting meditation difficult. Luckily, there are various other meditation methods that may suit us like walking meditation, working meditation, writing meditation…and art meditation. Here at Les Sources Sacrées, in the south of France, we also introduce our mindfulness meditation workshop participants to equine-guided meditation.
Let’s also look at what art meditation is not.
Art Meditation is not Art Therapy. Art therapy is defined by the British Association of Art Therapists as “a form of psychotherapy that uses art as its primary mode of communication.” Art therapy helps patients express themselves to release and resolve emotional issues. Art therapy has a positive effect on a variety of illnesses including depression. In a recent study of cancer patients, an art therapy intervention — in conjunction with conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy – not only diminished symptoms typically associated with cancer such as pain, fatigue and anxiety but also increased life expectancy. The study was based on the theory that “the creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life-enhancing. It is used to help patients, or their families, increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, and adapt to stressful and traumatic experiences.”
Art Meditation is not Creative Meditation either. Creative meditation enables us to consciously cultivate and strengthen specific mental characteristics like patience, appreciation, empathy, gratitude, compassion, courage, humility etc. Creative meditation enables us to enhance these strengths of character.
How to practice Art Meditation – 10 suggestions