After years of skirting around starting a meditation practice, I finally found a book that made meditating make sense to me, minus the various spiritual trappings I’ve run into in the past. The One Minute Meditator by David Nichol, M.D. and Bill Birchard presents meditation in a practical, easy-to-do method. It’s meditation unplugged, a foundation from which you could go on to add yoga or buddhism or any of the spiritual practices I usually associate with meditation.
The book covers a lot of ground in a short time, but what strikes me the most is the idea that it’s good for you – physically, mentally, emotionally, and yes, spiritually – even when you don’t feel like it’s working. The “relaxation response” goes into effect the moment you start paying attention to your breathing. The longer you spend even just trying to pay attention to your breathing and/or your thoughts without reacting to them – every little moment you succeed at it actually makes you more healthy. It’s like building a muscle. So, when you’re standing in line at the grocery story you can pay attention to your breathing and even that much time increases your ability to relax. For some people it starts so deep they don’t notice much at first, but it’s working anyway.
That got me to thinking about ART. I’m certain it works the same way. I struggle a lot with doing art. I have a lot of perfectionist expectations built in that makes it very hard to just relax and enjoy myself. These mechanisms have been in place for 40 years or more, so it’s hard to just undo them. Thanks to the continual support of my boyfriend I’ve been able to do art on a daily basis for the first time in my life for the last few months. My life has changed for the better. I thought it was just that I felt better because I was finally “doing art” instead of fretting over not doing it. But now I think that perhaps it works on a deeper level, exactly like meditation.
Scholars tell us that when humans first started making art it was for magical purposes, such as to heal an illness or call in animals for food. It is thought that just by looking at an image on a cave wall a person was healed. The way meditation works on the body is mysterious and magical, too, even with scientific evidence that it is working, especially with illness. All you have to do is breathe. (I haven’t looked into it yet, but I’m sure there’s a direct correlation between meditation and the “law of attraction”.)
Art therapy is a profession which uses art to heal. I’m sure there is a wealth of material already written by art therapists about how art is a form of meditation. Art therapy, however, is usually intended for those who are really dysfunctional. What if art “therapy” is just as useful in everyday life for everybody; even happy, healthy people who want to stay that way?
I’ve said in an earlier post that I struggle with the idea that angels are separate entities. Now I’m wondering if ANGELS are part of this mysterious process that happens when a person meditates (or creates). I can’t see my blood pressure lower when I pay attention to myself, but it does. I can’t see angels around me, but I can feel a big wave of unconditional love wash over me with no obvious outside source. Perhaps just by paying attention to angels, even if you don’t believe in them, even if it seems like nothing is happening, your attention does bring them into your life, one way or another, and you can get help in ways you never dreamed possible.
Try any or all of the above and let me know how it goes. I’m curious to know if it’s just me who is making this connection.