Friday, April 8, 2016

Art Making as Meditation and Pilgrimage

I've been reading The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner.  Her words about an inner process during art making speak to my own experience.   

Consider your art making time as a meditation practice where the only "goal" is to be aware of the voices inside you, especially the critical ones.  Notice what they have to say and then gently return to your practice.  Over time you will discover that these voices of judgement and insecurity are the same ones that rise up and undermine you in everyday life.  Art becomes a place where we can grow familiar with them and dive into our inner life despite their distraction.  It also becomes a place to welcome in the voices of joy and ease and recognize things that make our hearts delight.  

I am glad she mentions not just the critical voices, but also joy and ease.  I often find that it is only by moving through the voices of doubt and criticism that I can get to the voices of joy and discovery. For me, materials help with this as they pull me in to the present and into a way of being where shape and color and seeing take over so there are fewer words, fewer voices in my head and the possibility of new ways of seeing.  

Paintner writes about how practice can serve as an inner journey into the unknown, one that helps us to be open to discovery and to newness around us.  

Art-making as pilgrimage helps us to understand the arts as a process of discovery about ourselves and about God.  When we enter the creative process with the intention of listening for the movements of the Spirit, we discover new insights about ourselves and God.  

We will add a monthly gathering for exploring art and meditation in April and May, on the second Wednesday of the month, April 13 and May 11 at 7 pm at St Aidan's.