“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

– Thomas Merton

Paintings by Huy Lam

Art provided my first experiences of transcendence. Before I had a meditation practice, I could be transported, however briefly, through its creation and consumption. Playing music with others, merging my sound into the larger whole. Laying down layers of paint on canvas, moulding colours in all dimensions. Sitting in a darkened theatre, the audience holding our collective breath as a powerful performance draws to a close. In moments like these, I tapped into the timeless.

Meditation has only made these experiences richer and more remarkable. I’ll never forget the first time I was tasked to meditate on sound.  First, I poured my attention for many minutes into the ambient noise of my urban apartment.  Then I put on music and offered it the same focus.  Now, I’ve been listening to and playing music my whole life, but this was different.  The sounds were more intricate and textured, so vivid and all-encompassing. Mind blown. If paying close attention to the details of ordinary human experience made them more vibrant and poignant, I learned that applying the same mindfulness to creations already infused with beauty and truth made them sensory feasts, deepened their impact.

Art, like meditation, illuminates the ineffable. Painting, literature, poetry, music, dance, theatre, film…these have incredible capacity to comfort, heal, inspire, incite, ignite. Bring us face to face with our own humanity and all of  its terrible beauty.

We’re going to make art of this next month at CEC.  We’ll extol our community’s artists and teachers to introduce practices that breed creativity, feed artistic souls, and illustrate how art can enrich and inspire the contemplative path.  Rumi writes, “Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about…”. Let’s find them!

Erin Oke – Consciousness Explorers Club

May, 2017