MEDITATIVE ART

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. – Thomas Merton

Meditative Art, or Reflective Mantra Art as I like to call it,  has traditionally been a natural and integral part of spiritual paths worldwide; it is not a modern new-age concept. Some well-known examples of meditative art from the east are: Chinese calligraphy, Indian Mandalas and Yantras, Tibetan sculpturing and drawing, Zen poetry and Whirling Sufi dance. Buddhists create intricate sand mandalas, circular designs with concentric shapes, that are intentionally swept or washed away upon completion. These creations are a meditation on life’s impermanence.

Meditative Art is not art therapy, but a tool to bring one to the present moment. It is a way of driving inwards to the source of creativity, a way to connect within to a “higher self” or a “higher power” or the “creator.” It is a tool to get in touch with and to expand our inner true self, a tool to practice awareness, attentiveness, peacefulness and quietness. In the process of creating, we learn to quiet ourselves, to listen and to let creativity flow though us. Just like any other meditation, focusing our concentration on one thing helps us in breaking free from the constant debilitating chatter of the mind and helps us discover our inner space to connect to harmony and beauty.

This is the focus in a Meditative Art practice – making ourselves available to that which is perfect to be presented.

The average person has 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of them are exactly the same, day in, day out!  When a person manages to get totally immersed in a creative endeavour, he/she may find themselves in what’s known as “the zone” or in a state of “flow.” This meditative-like state focuses the mind and temporarily pushes aside all worries. Creating art trains you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to the environment. In this way, it acts like meditation. It has the power to increase feelings of empathy, tolerance and love. 

I personally stumbled on mantra art!

About 30 years ago, after attending a retreat where the mantra “waheguru” was used for meditation, I intuitively started writing the word in a picture. It appealed to me and then spoke to me – Indeed, if all creation is energy and vibrating particles, then this happened to depict it beautifully.

I was ecstatic!!

I love this practice of writing the mantra into paintings while contemplating or reflecting (Thus it became “Reflective Mantra Art”) on the Master’s  Omnipresence, Omniscience &  Omnipotence. I encourage everyone to try it.

Art is for everyone!

Within each of us lies a spark of creativity.

The good news is  that unlike math, there is no one correct answer in art.

It is about the journey — not about the end product.

     

Love all and serve all

Attentive, engaged, alert  are three words that come to mind when i describe the lovely senior ladies I met at  a workshop held at PCHS early last month. The objective was double fold. One was to introduce them to Reflective Mantra Art , which they seemed to embrace passionately. The second was to make them aware of  The Power Of Thoughts.  The affect of thoughts on health, wealth and relationships.

They were asked to reflect on the following question,” Do you know or have known anyone who is a constant complainer, or always broke or always talking about their ailments?” They noted the behavior of such people. The conclusion that they reached was that typically such people are never happy with any situation, are financially challenged and more often than not sick with things like high blood pressure, arthritis ,diabetes or just common colds. It became clear that the constant pattern of negative thinking was influencing what they were manifesting for themselves. They then examined the behaviours of happy, joyful generally healthy people and how they were able to brush off events that might cause discomfort in their lives. It was amazing to see the connections they were able to make and then apply them to their own lives and ahem! of course spouses. In the end they were all smiling:))))

These senior ladies are totally awesome. Groups like theirs seem to be a forgotten by our society. They have contributed much to their families and now need nurturing. PCHS are doing a fantastic job by providing workshops that empower them in many ways – like learning how to bank online.

Thanks Ladies! Blessings!!

You rock!

I learnt so much from you.

Come out of the circle of time and into the circle of Love

— Rumi

The tree is a common universal, archetypal symbol that can be found in many    different traditions around the ancient world. It is a spiritual motif and framework, a  map of conception and consciousness that can bring together the temporal worlds of  time, space and consciousness. Trees have always fascinated me as far back as I can  remember. To me they symbolize a certain spiritual steadfastness: time beings that  remain in  His Divine Will). By virtue of their longevity and size trees have stood the  test of time and still stand as witness to the events. They are wisdom keepers. In the  month of September I was in Northern India on a combined business and pleasure  trip, in the provinces of Punjab, Harayana and Himachal Pardesh. These provinces  are at the footsteps of the Himalayas. Although there were so many beautiful  mountains all around me also speaking the same language I fell drawn to almost  every other tree.

These centuries old trees are simply so gorgeous in their antique splendour with thick curling roots, lush leaves and hefty trunks that you just have to go and hug each one. In most cased, however, the circumference of the trunk was so large that it was quite impossible to get your arms around it.

One such occasion particularly impacted me greatly. I was visiting Anandpur Sahib. Known as “the holy City of Bliss,” it is one of the Sikhs’ most important sacred places, closely linked with their religious traditions and history. It is located on the lower spurs of the Himalayas surrounded by picturesque natural scenery. Anandpur Sahib was founded in 1665 by the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. This place was also where the birth of the Khalsa took place. It was on Vaisakhi day in 1699. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh himself baptised the very first Panj Pyaras. I was transported in time when I saw not the gorgeous temple that stands there but the magnificent tree in front of temple that has withstood all events (battles, peaceful times) for over 300 years and also witnessed this event. I could not but feel the presence of the holy gathering that happened here. This tree had seen my Guru, been in His presence. I was transfixed. In it’s great wisdom, it stood rooted in this single place on the earth’s surface, faithfully witnessing the unfolding of time, observing the surroundings. I fell in love with it’s immense enduring strength,it’s groundedness and it’s ability to give of at all times.

       O’ to dance to His rhythm

To to hear His music

To become His energy

in acceptance of Divine Will.

Thank you O’Time Being

Article written for the Dec 2015 issue of the radix (McGill Spirituality magazine) . The theme was TIME.

Dr Juss Kaur  is the Sikh Liaison for the McGill Office of Religion & Spiritual Life (MORSL) and is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Education at McGill.

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This year has been a blissfully eventful one. After taking two months to recuperate from a hip surgery (winter mishap) preparations for the exhibition at Beaumont Studios in downtown Vancouver for April were in full swing. With His Grace the exhibition was a great success. For some more details please see http://www.jusskaur.com/blog/exhibition-at- beaumont-studios-unfolding-consciousness/

From there I flew to Saudi Arabia and was involved in Training Teacher Trainers for three weeks. The cities of Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh are simply beautiful & the teachers full of gratitude with a great generosity of spirit. This was not the first time I have been there but I always find everything spectacular. Catching up with dear friends was an added bonus. The months of summer were spent in Toronto with family and time just flew by.

In September I went to India to attend a spiritual retreat (Ahhh☺) at Dodra Sahib in Punjab followed by a conference (more teacher training) at the Akal Academy, Baru Sahib in Himachal Pardes in the Divine Valley, as they call it. Baru Sahib is at the footsteps of the Himalayas; breathtakingly peaceful and beautiful. One can spend days painting everyday here. This place has a marvelous history – began with 5 students and now houses 5000! A lot of charitable work goes on here to support the rural impoverished people. Also was thrilled to visit His Holiness, the Dalai Lama’s residence at Dharmsala and other nearby monasteries. The icing on the cake came while I was in Delhi. I was approached by a representative of a gallery called The Art Floor and we are now planning to work on an exhibition in Delhi in 2017.

Meanwhile I am very excited to announce that this year’s exhibition will be held in Toronto at
THE SIKH HERITAGE MUSEUM OF CANADA on April 22. Hope to see you there! Please do save the date svp☺

I love winter! While the days are short and the nights are long, I find that there are fewer distractions, and I can focus more on listening to the whisper of the still, small voice through the noise of daily life. Like a nightlight
the sweet stillness of spirit helps to lovingly create paintings for the next exhibition.
Hugs and blessings!

Wishing you a sweet, inspiring and bountiful season wherever you may be,

With Love
Juss