Meditation is a diverse activity and while you might think of this as an experience where you sit down and focus on the breath without moving much, there are other ways that you can engage in meditation using an alternative technique. Meditative painting is a form of meditation through art and is often used by people who struggle to quieten the mind through the normal techniques.
If you are someone who finds that the usual approach to getting into a meditative state is too restricting or you just cannot get on board with it, you might find that meditative painting will work for you.
In this article, we are going to look at this alternative therapy and the benefits it can have where stress relief and expression are concerned.
What Is Meditative Art?
One of the most common problems in modern life is that there is an incredible amount of stress built up in a very short space of time. Many people are plagued with thoughts of fear and anxiety which are something that can drastically interfere in their day to day lives. However, art has been used as an effective form of therapy for many things; addiction recovery, mental health treatment and stress relief, for example.
The good news is that in order to take part in meditative painting, you do not need to be an artist or have any serious paint skills, this is an exercise that can be practised by anyone in the world.
The idea of this process is to put all of your pent up emotions, fears and thoughts in paintings and drawings. Not only is this an excellent form of meditation but it can also help to grow your self-awareness and gives you a way of expressing yourself.
In short, meditative painting is a form of expression that allows you to let go and release any negative energy. Not many people realise that letting go of bad energy this way is an effective way to practice mindfulness; you are immersed in the moment and your attention is on creating paintings and art that reflects how you feel. It is an incredibly therapeutic process.
What Does Meditative State Mean?
Many people believe that to be in a meditative state, a person must be sitting with closed eyes and not moving. But this is not the case. In fact, being meditative means focusing your attention on something. This can be whatever you want; some people focus on certain objects, some concentrate on the breath and others will practice while placing their awareness on music. Mindfulness comes in all shapes and forms, therefore, it is not difficult to imagine that creating a sketch or images on canvas could be considered meditative.
In truth, once you have tried this act or painting to let go, you will be surprised at how well it can work and how your negative energy melts away during the process. Once you realise this power, you might decide to meditate in this manner for the rest of your life.
How Do You Do Meditative Painting?
One of the most common questions from those that are new to this way of meditation and mindfulness is how you can paint with purpose and meaning. The first thing to keep in mind is that you can approach this process in any way that you choose. You might like to paint on canvas, or create an image on paper using lots of bright colors. There is no right or wrong method for creating art and you certainly do not need a hefty amount of painting skill.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you will need to do for your first meditative painting session.
Before you get painting, or whichever medium you have chosen, it is a good idea to think about the things that are causing you stress or anxiety. Many people find that these things can help them to shape their final image.
You might find that using the colors you associate with your worries will produce a helpful result. Some experts recommend taking these colors and rather than trying to make shapes, just place dots onto the canvas with your paint brush before using the brush to swirl these dots into one another, letting your intuition guide your drawing. Of course, this is merely an idea, you are free to do any painting or drawing that you feel will be beneficial and help you to release your emotions. You might do painting of portraits or landscapes, objects or mandalas or even just blocks of color; there is no limit other than what is inside your mind.
- To get started with your drawing or painting, you will need an appropriate surface to paint on. You can use paper or canvas and some people like to use cardstock paper as this is less expensive than canvas but still good if you have decided to use thicker paint such as acrylic paint.
- You will also need brushes. If you only intend on using one color, you might only have a single brush but most people will want to use more than just a single color so it can be useful to have extra brushes. Furthermore, each brush will have a different thickness and texture allowing you to better create the images in your mind.
- Choosing the type of picture you will create will depend on how you feel. It can be helpful to know that there is a different between a painting and a sketch. Sketches are based around shapes whereas paintings are formed around colors.
- When you are in the process of meditative painting, it can be very helpful to find a place that is quiet and where you will not be disturbed during your practice. Meditation and peace go hand in hand so it is important to give yourself a dedicated space to do your drawing.
Once you have everything to hand, you can begin releasing your negative energy onto the paper. Allow the paper and colors to soak up your emotions and with every stroke of the brush, you will feel that your mind is becoming lighter.
Art is all about expression and it is so important to let your intuition take your drawing to where your subconscious feels it needs to be. You should allow yourself to feel your way through the painting session rather than trying to force anything. When you do this, you will likely find that art becomes something that causes you to feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
What’s more, when we look back over time, we see that a selection of the most incredible art has been created when the artist allows themselves to let go and doesn’t think too much about what is going down onto paper.
Benefits Of Art Therapy
When we look at research, we can see that using art as a form of mental health treatment can cause the brain to release dopamine. This same chemical is seen to be released when a person is in a meditative state so this perfectly demonstrates how the two go together.
Those who have taken part in drawing, color therapy and other forms of artistic therapies have noticed positive effects such as improved self esteem, heightened self discovery and significant stress relief.
How Else Can I Be Meditative?
Being meditative simply means being in the present moment. When you do this, you are mind is focused on how you are currently feeling and this does not have to be done just with traditional meditation techniques.
On the contrary, there are many ways that you can be meditative and drawing, using color or painting is just one way to let go of stress and be in the now.
Closing your eyes and listening to your favorite song is an excellent way to focus on your current feelings and an action that a lot of people take to relax. Others might find that gardening is very meditative or perhaps cooking. There is no right or wrong here and you do not have to have any skills, just a desire to become relaxed, calm and centred.
There are many ways that you can get into a meditative state without actually meditating. This seems odd but when you think that meditation is simply getting into the present moment and becoming centred, it is easier to link this to therapeutic activities like creating a sketch or full color painting.
Meditative painting allow you to work with color and shape to develop pieces that express your innermost feelings and emotions.