This past Friday morning I was invited to attend a workshop for “intention setting and meditating.” After a somewhat hectic week, this was a welcome invite. I don’t meditate and was not sure what “setting an intention” meant, but I was interested in learning. The workshop was held in a pretty home on a quiet street. Our hostess was graceful and welcoming. With a dozen others I sat in her living room overlooking a lovely backyard with a freeform pool and lush tropical landscaping. The home’s soothing, aqua color scheme reinforced the relaxed atmosphere.
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
~ Thomas Merton
Our hostess led us through the process of “setting an intention”: when you declare to yourself and others that you are serious about your dreams and goals. “Intentions” are a starting point for creating your dreams. They should be stated or written clearly, shared with someone supportive, and reviewed often until the time that your dream is realized.
Meditation was the next topic, and we learned how beneficial it could be. Many studies show that practicing regular meditation improves health, alleviates stress, organizes thought processes and heightens creativity. While meditating, our body is relaxed, our mind becomes focused, and through inward reflection, we can discover who we really are.
We were guided through a meditation session by our hostess. Sitting comfortably with our eyes closed, we listened to her gentle voice take us down an imaginary path to a place of beauty and inner peace. As a susceptible artist, I gave in to the rhythm of her voice and immediately entered a trance-like state, seeing and feeling the place she was describing with complete clarity. So deeply had I fallen into an altered state that it took me many moments to clear my head when the session was over.
We all shook off the pleasant fog of our transcendental states, and after a bit of socializing, the morning came to an end. While driving home it occurred to me that the relaxed, trance-like state I had experienced in the pretty, aqua living room was exactly like the state of mind I experience while I paint.
Whenever I paint, I feel as if I create the image on the canvas before me without a conscious thought in my head. Time is suspended, and I am lost in my work. Focused and unfocused. I feel free. My creative energy is a force working outside of me, and my paintbrush takes me to a state of deep relaxation and all the stress of the world disappears for hours.
How funny to find, after all this time, that through my art, I had been meditating for years. And if meditation is about finding yourself, I realized that I had found my path a long time ago and have been following it everyday.