Art incorporates elements of meditation and journaling into one. Art is a vehicle for meditation and self-connection. It is a type of meditation that allows for freedom from daily worries and tensions. Art also allows for you to create space between “the thoughts” which helps you to connect with your inner self. As you engage in the feeling of flow and freedom that making art provides, you can find the more quiet part of yourself. Creative activity has the potential to tap into a space of true consciousness of being, void of interpretation.
Art is also a way in which to journal. It is the process of putting “pen to paper” to express yourself. Art exists within its own non-verbal parameter, which frees you up for unadulterated self-expression. Through this expression you become steady and centered. It also allows you the opportunity for discovery about your inner thoughts, desires, and purpose.
When you use art as a meditation vehicle, you need to decide first what you are attempting to achieve. Maybe you are looking to find balance or to reduce stress. Perhaps you would like to use the process to find a solution for a problem. You can use art as a meditation tool to achieve either purpose. Two techniques that you can begin to incorporate into your meditation or journaling practice are automatic drawing or journal mandalas. Automatic drawing can help to empty the mind, while creating a journal mandala can focus the mind.
Automatic Drawing: Find a place alone and ten minutes of uninterrupted time. Begin moving your pen on the paper. Don’t try to draw anything specific. Don't analyze it. Don't stop to evaluate it. Don't judge it in any way. It's more than likely going to look pretty abstract, but occasionally images may suggest themselves as you draw, if they do go with it until you feel something else, then follow that stream of consciousness. Continue to automatic draw for ten minutes. The point of this automatic drawing technique is the experience, not the final drawing. In fact, it's probably best to just toss out the drawing when you're finished so that you're not tempted to go back and critique it later, thus unraveling all of your efforts.
Journal Mandalas: Sometimes you just need focus. Journal mandalas allow you to create order from the chaos. Get a sheet of paper, a pen, and something round to trace a circle, like a cup. Come to this experience with an issue that you need to focus on or need some clarity about. Draw a circle in the middle of the paper. Write your issue in the middle of the circle. For example, if you needed to focus on making the best career choice for yourself you would write "career" in the circle. Next, begin to just draw around the circle images that come to mind when you think of your issue. These can be literal things or just graphic symbols that denote feelings (like jagged lines for anger or anxiety). Continue to just build images around your focal point until you reach the outer edges of your paper. You'll be surprised at how this exercise can bring clarity to your thinking just by simply drawing and meditating around your issue in the center of the circle.
Mindful coloring appears to be the new craze. There is an abundance of coloring books out there for adults to use for the purpose of meditation. Is this just a ploy on the part of retail stores to increase sales? Is there really a meditative gain to participating in the act of coloring? Why should one engage in coloring? There is, in fact many benefits to engaging in the process of coloring. Coloring lifts our spirits and brings out the child in you. Whenever you engage the child within, you begin to relieve stress and relax. There are no rules to follow when coloring and you can proceed at your own pace. You can also share the experience by coloring in groups. Finally, coloring can activate the intuitive ability inside you. Using coloring for meditative purposes is wonderful. The act of coloring allows the individual to leave behind the stress of the day and engage in a creative activity, thus allowing for the creation of “space between the thoughts”.
Many claim that coloring mandalas can be very healing. The word mandala comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and loosely means “circle” or “center.” It’s a simple geometric shape that has no beginning or end. Mandalas are used universally to promote healing and other positive states of being. Within its circular shape, the mandala has the power to promote relaxation, balance the body’s energies, enhance your creativity, and support healing.
When you color mandalas, you’re expressing your desires for healing and wellness. You’re also acknowledging and declaring your own unlimited potential. You can think of the mandala as being energetically alive, a means of creating a pathway to a desired state of being. For whatever purpose you choose to work with the mandala, know that you can achieve it through either creating your own mandala or by using mandala coloring books.
Try to bring some art into your meditation or journaling practice. Experiment with different mediums of expression. Use crayons, markers, colored pencils, and even paints to experience the freedom from daily stress as you create. Remember, you do not have to be an artist or know how to draw, as the final product is never the focus of using art for the purpose of meditation or journaling; it is the process that is most important. So grab a box of crayons and some paper or coloring book, and enjoy a process that allows for relaxation, relief from stress, and discovery of self.
Love & Light