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Why Practice Meditation Art? Some Reflections on my own practice.......

I am interested in who were are in essence, training in recognising the nature of mind (knowing-ness/empty-ness in the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu Mahamudra tradition) and its expression, particularly through art.

Lines, watercolour, Zangmo Alexander

For example, drawing simple lines with awareness of mind, not just focusing on the 'external' material activity, is a common practice in Zen, and can be applied in any meditative tradition or approach, both secular or religious. It is a mindful, meditative awareness process of observing the relationship between movement and stillness in my mind and noting how this affects drawing the lines. The product is an interesting outcome of process, but criteria of aesthetically pleasing, good or bad art, or a picture OF something are not relevant. Art in this context is about discovering who we really are, what the nature of experience is and the place of mind and awareness in this.

Personally, I sometimes find it easier to observe mind while I am moving rather than sitting, especially if meditating for a long time. Also working intuitively and spontaneously with a fluid medium is a way to allow inner mindsets to be organically expressed and externalised. When the artwork is viewed, it becomes like a mirror into my inner world, giving me insight into my mind. This helps me more clearly understand what I cannot conceptually name and label.

For example, this can be a way to raise awareness of not only narrow, conceptual naming and labelling processes by which which I try to solidify and control experience to fit in with what is familiar. It can also be a way to connect with natural openness, playfulness, spontaneity, compassion, love, humour, energy in a way which is different from other forms of movement: it is tactile. Practising art making is also a way of sharpening awareness of changing relationships of the elements with creative processes involving chaos, emptiness, materiality, flux, fluidity, change, interdependence, chance, creation, preservation, destruction - this process fascinates me. Of particular interest are luminosity, ambiguity, liminality, palimpsest, space, wabi sabi, self/non-self.

Dharma art, I love doing it! Eh ma ho!

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