by Elsa Houghton
To practise meditation early in the day gives me enormous inner peace and stillness.
That feeling stays with me throughout the day, supporting me in everything it brings.
When I paint or draw pictures it seems that this same inner stillness helps me in making the work, it seems that I ‘draw’ from this inner source.
For me, painting and drawing is a silent process, mostly looking and making decisions.
Meditation is and has been of great benefit to me and my work.
It has given me increased confidence, made me more decisive and able to focus for long periods.
Problems in a piece of work are more easily overcome.
But it happens intuitively and wordlessly by feeling my way around the image, moment after moment, mark after mark, it’s completely absorbing.
When stepping back to look and assess it seems like I have been meditating in some way.
I am not saying that painting and meditating are the same thing.
I believe drawing or painting is one way of making your mind quiet when it is tired of the constant stream of thought going on, it is a way of shutting it up!
Most children draw and paint freely and are naturally without inhibitions about good or bad and get totally absorbed in it until you hear: ” Finished! ”
Then it’s handed it over, a present for you, they forget all about it and go on playing. If we were lucky, we did that too in our childhood.
As adults, we can recognize and re-connect with that feeling of total absorption when we are doing ordinary daily tasks like gardening, sewing, cooking, polishing a floor and so on.
That’s when we are being mindful and the ordinary things we do, become extraordinary.
So, meditation is of great benefit to any artwork I do and for developing ideas for artwork.
But it is not a guarantee that it will always go well, nor of a successful outcome.
The pleasure is mostly in the doing.
I have been drawing and painting since childhood.
My first experience of meditation was in the late 1960 ‘s when meditation became really widespread thanks to The Beatles coming back from India where they had learnt meditation techniques from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They advocated meditation as a path to inner and world peace.
Since that time I meditated on and off, reading and learning more.
Only for the last 15 years have I been a ‘serious’ meditator – meaning that I meditate every day.
By chance, I met Adam Dacey and started going to his classes on Buddhism, Zen and Mindful Meditation delivered with his boundless enthusiasm and humor. Giving me the encouragement and determination to carry on.
Meditation is a wonderful and vital part of my daily life.
Elsa Houghton is a talented artist/illustrator and former University lecturer.
You can see some of her work here.
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