If you’ve ever transcended to a deep state while painting a picture, playing music, or performing a dance, then you have benefitted from practicing meditation through creating art.
You just may not have realized it.
Meditation comes in many different forms. And creating art is a profound way to access a meditative state – as well as all of the peace and healing it can bring. And it doesn’t require a meditation cushion or sitting in a cross-legged lotus position for some indefinite amount of time.
Getting Out Of One’s Head
A study conducted in 2015 at Yale found that mindfulness meditation decreased activity in the part of the brain associated with the wandering mind and self-referential thoughts. In the world of meditation, this endless chattering and loop of unproductive thinking is known as the “monkey mind.”
We all do it and nobody is immune.
Even so, time spent acknowledging the wild rantings of the monkey mind leads to ruminating, worrying, and general unhappiness. In routinely quieting that part of the mind, meditation trains the brain and makes new connections. As such, practitioners are able to more quickly notice when the monkey mind is taking the wheel and ensure it doesn’t take control.
Interestingly, creating art also appears to still and calm that part of the mind.
The Importance of Arts Education
Educators at arts academy middle schools and high schools have repeatedly seen the impact that the arts have on pre-teen and adolescent students who are struggling with difficult situations. The creative process involved in whichever art form they choose – be it visual arts, performance, or music – is healing and enhances their lives like no other activity.
Yet, the close link that creating art has to attaining a meditative state of mind is often overlooked. Regularly engaging in creating art allows artists to increase their awareness of themselves and adapt to stressful or traumatic experiences. And for many young people who are easily overwhelmed by emotion or who live in adverse conditions which they cannot physically escape, art is an amazing tool for self-expression and coping.
It gives students an escape from the worry and trauma in their lives and helps tap into a space of true consciousness and present-moment awareness where they are simply allowed to “be.”
Meditation Through Creating Art
Just as coming to stillness and moving deep into the mind can elicit emotions and release them, creating art also serves this purpose. It has the added benefit of being able to move others as well.
Through both meditation and creating art, we’re able to draw away from identifying with counterproductive and negative thoughts (the false self) and able to connect with our true nature. The false self is eternally unhappy and unfulfilled. But that false self cannot survive in a space where we feel whole, complete, and sufficient.
Part of what makes meditation so effective is that it encourages complete acceptance. Creating art does the same thing. It’s a means of training the mind to be more expansive and open to possibilities. It showcases the importance of accepting thoughts and feelings without judgment.
In addition, the act of creating art doesn’t require verbal communication. Nor does meditation. Both allow the practitioner/artist to explore the unspeakable and find ways to move beyond it in a healthy way.
And finally, one of the objectives of meditation is to teach the practitioner to stay centered and grounded. Again, the same goes for art. Both meditation and producing art ultimately create a space where we no longer crave the highs (which come with the inevitable lows) and instead nurture a space that offers stability, consistency, and connection with our true selves.
Is Your Child Feeling Disconnected?
Times are uncertain and it’s especially tough on pre-teens and adolescents trying to find stability. This is what makes meditation through creating art so uniquely suitable for this age group.
If you have a middle school or high school-aged child who seems most at peace when creating, then you may want to consider the many benefits of having him or her attend an arts academy middle or high school.
Contact us today to schedule a tour of our school. Our arts-integrated curriculum may provide them just the peace and calm they seek right now.