Mindfulness and the Creative Process
by Zangmo Alexander
Arranging One-to-One, Mindful Art and Photography Lessons, Workshops or Retreats with Zangmo Alexander
Mindful Art and Mindful Photography Lessons, Workshops and Retreats can be from one day to one week in length. They are entirely personalised around your own interests, needs and prior experience of mindfulness, art and photography. Mindful Art and Mindful Photography Workshops and Retreats can take place either in Botesdale, Suffolk or at your own venue in the UK or worldwide.
Mandala Drawing and Painting Workshop
What is a Mandala?
Mandala means 'centre' and 'periphery' in Sanskrit. Mandalas always have a central focal point from which elements of the image radiate. They are found innature and in the art of all cultures - rose windows found in medieval cathedrals, Tibetan sandpainted and painted mandalas, Hindu Yantra diagrams, Navajo sand paintings, Islamic sacred geometry.
Western psychologist C.G. Jung viewed mandalas as a symbol of the self, the soul, going to the center. They can also be used as a tool for contemplating some issue or wish in one's own life.
Mandala Painting can:
help calm the thoughts and emotions
be a centreing and joyful experience
help in healing, bringing a sense of wholeness
be a fulfilling way of self expression
What will we be doing on our Mandala Painting Workshop?
We will use simple relaxation and centreing techniques to help us connect with heart centre. From this centre we will allow our own personal mandalas to evolve organically to explore a personal or healing thought we are holding.
Do I have to be able to draw and paint?
No artistic ability or experience is needed. You don't have to be able to draw or paint to come on this mandala workshop, and all materials are provided. The main aim is to express yourself rather than make a 'good' work of art.
About the facilitator Zangmo Alexander
Zangmo Alexander is an Art Teacher and professional artist who regularly meditates and has been on an 8 week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Course with the University of Bangor. She was also a Buddhist nun for seven years.
Art activities have for the past 30 years been part of her own inner journey exploring psychotherapy, art therapy, and the perennial wisdom at the heart of the world's spiritual traditions, helping her to find her own personal path, which is rooted in Buddhism, yet still rejoices in the richness of all the different traditions.
She has experienced very clearly how creative activities together with mindfulness practice and methods from art therapy can lead to increased insight, creativity, healing, enjoyment of life and an increased sense of purpose and connectedness.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation or awareness meditation involves getting to know ourselves, how our mind works, how we cause ourselves suffering, discovering who or what we are in essence free of suffering and training in recognising and resting in that essence. Originating from the Buddhist tradition, much of it can be practised in a secular way by people of any faith or none.
Progressing takes regular practice, like working out or cleaning our teeth each day, or the perseverence needed to get good at doing anything, including art! Through regular mindfulness meditation practice, we learn to be aware of sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, energy, sense of a self, plus our whole field of experience as we experience it.
This awareness can be discovered as a vivid spaciousness much vaster, more joyous and clearer than the claustrophobia and stress of habitual, conditioned thought patterns such as negative self talk, opinions, biases, preconceptions and unhelpful beliefs that we get lost in which drive our lives and cause stress. These negative thought patterns also stultify our capacity to wisely and compassionately express ourselves creatively from our essence.
Meditation or awareness practice is a training which can lead to calming down, feeling more ourselves, more content, more connected, more appreciative of the joy and vitality of the ever living present, and more able to be naturally creative from an awake, wise and compassionate space.
Mindful awareness meditation can be used just to lessen our stress, improve our health and well being, or it can also be a path to permanently awaken from the delusions causing suffering.
Since our mind is inescapably with us all the time, why not learn to integrate awareness practice into everything we think, do or say, as this will increase our well being, creativity, wisdom and compassion and decrease our stress?
We are all creative, it is what we do, every second, 24/7. But we may not be aware of what of what we are thinking, feeling, sensing, nor are we necessarily aware of how our motivation drives our action, so may be causing ourselves or others harm through our creative action. We may not experientially know who or what it is that is thinking, doing, experiencing, creating our own reality.
Creative energy is not necessarily good or bad, it just is. Untold harm has been done through creative action motivated by greed and anger. Learning mindfulness increases our awareness of motivations and intentions informing creative action and helps us lean to direct energy in ways that are compassionately and wisely beneficial for ourselves and others.
For some years now, I have been exploring secular ways of integrating art and mindfulness meditation, as part of a path of healing, well-being and awakening, to help art students and mindful creativity coaching clients who come to me.