As contemporary art loses its way in the realm of materialism, an artist takes a stand for the cause of uplifting, spiritual art
A Personal ExperienceDana shared her new vision of art through an experiential workshop titled Art as a Vehicle for Spiritual Evolution, conducted at Ananda Sangha's Shanti House in Gurgaon, New Delhi.
We were a small group from diverse backgrounds. A judicious combination of reflection, meditation and creative expression marked the proceedings of the day. We learnt to access our inner reservoirs of creativity and spiritual energy through a number of guided visualisations, chanting and movements. As I gently swayed to the music and allowed my body to open up and 'feel', I could sense a distinct sense of release. This latent potential was then utilised for expression in the form of paintings. "It's not the form, but the spirit behind the form that's important," Dana said. 'The process, not the product' was the motto.
Dana pointed out that art and spiritual practice are metaphors for our approach towards life itself. She emphasised the need for the right intention and attention in all work. "Intention is the feminine principle while attention is masculine. Generally, we tend to be biased towards one or the other, giving into aggressive concentration or a passive slump. Relaxed awareness is the most creative place to be," she said. All we need to do to achieve it is to tune into the right vibrations that surround us. Just like a radio receiver, we can also learn to tune into the higher vibrations by being open and aware.
As I felt my way into my past and the problems and challenges of my life through the instrument of my body, it expressed on paper as a chaotic, angry mêlée of colours. Bright reds and dark blues jostled for space. Inner turmoil was out on paper. Then we proceeded to meditate, through chanting and visualisations, balancing and healing the chakras. What came out on paper surprised me. Right next to the earlier chaotic mess, was a beautiful flower, a gentle flow of harmonious colours, which symbolised my highest aspirations. "Don't get carried away by the end product," warned Dana, "Be honest and be yourself." "But I have no idea what I am doing," exclaimed a worried participant. "Then you are on the right track," was Dana's reply. 'Not knowing is the most intimate' said the Zen master. Now I can see why.
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