Meditation art can be an active or passive way to experience greater mind-body balance and improve your sense of well-being. Learn more about meditation art and how to practice it.
by James Han
We often think of meditation as sitting cross-legged, closing your eyes and letting go of your thoughts and feelings as they arise. While this is certainly an effective way of meditating, there are myriad other forms of mindfulness that are equally powerful.
Meditation art is one such avenue that can help you experience greater presentness, stillness and relaxation.
Whether you’re harnessing the benefits of meditation art through the act of creation (practicing an art mindfully) or the act of appreciation (mindfully engaging with another’s work of art), we’ll offer tips in this article to help you better understand the technique and incorporate it into your daily routine.
Benefits of Meditation
Mental and physical stress increases the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can lead to inflammation and other negative effects if left unchecked. With stressors becoming more rampant and a reported 55% of Americans feeling stressed or anxious throughout the day, it’s never been more important to find natural ways to manage your body’s reaction to everyday triggers.
Through regular practice, meditation can be a kind of training that helps you focus, develop a deeper awareness of your body and your surroundings, and even reduce stress. According to one study, participants in an eight-week mindfulness program were able to reduce the effects of psychological stress through meditation. Other studies have indicated that meditation may cultivate more creative problem-solving skills, improve attention span and have a range of other benefits.
What Is Meditation Art?
Artists have known about the meditative qualities of their craft for thousands of years, but modern-day meditation art emphasizes the therapeutic potential of creative expression rather than the pressure of actually producing a technically groundbreaking or impressive song, painting, photograph or other work. In other words, meditation art is nothing more than creating or appreciating art in a mindful way. It’s a practice that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their talent, knowledge or skill.
According to Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist, making art is “a tool for coping with overwhelming emotion,” a therapy that can help you connect with yourself more deeply, allow you to access greater flow and freedom, and center your mind. Similarly, immersing yourself in another’s work of art, whether it’s an image on your computer screen, a print on your wall or a sculpture at a gallery, can help you access a state of higher consciousness where your surroundings fall away and the art itself becomes an entry point to heightened awareness.
How to Practice Meditation Art
Meditation art is a flexible practice that you can practice virtually anywhere, anytime and for as long as you want. Here are some tips on how to get started.
Creating Art Mindfully
You don’t need expensive paints, pens or materials to enjoy meditation art at home. Look around your house for items that you can weave into your practice. This can include drawing with a ballpoint pen on a piece of computer paper (or even an old receipt or envelope), borrowing your child’s crayons and colored pencils, folding paper into origami figures, writing a piece of fiction or a poem, playing an instrument and more. The important thing is to avoid striving for perfection.
Amy Maricle, an artist, therapist and founder of Mindful Art Studio, recommends that you approach your art “with a beginner’s mind” — in other words, focusing on the process rather than the outcome on the page. Start with a short burst where you doodle and have fun. Over time, you can start to settle into the act of creating your art and pay attention to the feel of the pencil in your hand, the sensation of creasing a piece of paper, the texture of your crayon. Play a soothing album in the background to help you relax.
Appreciating Art Mindfully
The next time you’re at a museum or order a beautiful piece of art to hang in your home, take a moment to adjust into a more mindful state. Focus on the piece in front of you and observe your reactions. What does the artwork make you feel and think about? Don’t feel the pressure to name these emotions — simply give them attention and let them pass. What physical details do you find striking in the painting, statue or installation? Stand closer to and farther away from it and assess how your reaction changes. You can practice this same process with any work of art: songs, literature, dance performances, architecture, photographs, films and more.
How to Enhance Your Meditation Art Experience
What you do before your meditation art practice can subtly or profoundly alter your overall experience. In fact, meditation art, while effective on its own, can be a powerful component of multiple strategies you use to improve your mind-body connection. Here are some other techniques you can use to enhance your meditation art practice:
- Do some brief breathwork or a gentle yoga set before you create or observe a work of art.
- Take essential oils amplified with hemp CBD to relax your muscles, reduce stress and get you in a calm, grounded state of mind before your meditation art practice.
- Give yourself a tension-relieving massage to alleviate stiffness or discomfort in your upper body.
- Try a self-care practice such as eating mood-boosting foods, lighting a candle or going for a walk outside to give yourself an easy pick-me-up.
Ready to give meditation art a try? Share your experience with us over on @therootofitallcbd.
James Han is a writer, editor and content strategist based in Los Angeles. When he’s not deep in a Google Doc, you can find him reading, watching films and taking long walks.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity - A Comparison of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and an Active Control in Modulation of Neurogenic Inflammation
Frontiers in Psychology - Mindful Creativity: The Influence of Mindfulness Meditation on Creative Thinking
Behavioural Brain Research - Brief, Daily Meditation Enhances Attention, Memory, Mood, and Emotional Regulation in Non-Experienced Meditators
Healthline - 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
The Washington Post - Why Making Art Is the New MeditationThe New York Times - How To Be Mindful When Making Art