Why I decided Creating works better for me than Meditating
I've often thought 'am I the only person in the meditation room that can't stop my mind from wondering?'. Try as I might, I would stick with my teacher for five minutes, then 'to do' lists would beckon, unread emails would flash in my mind or I would deliberate whether I could fill the car up with petrol before I collected my boys from school. All this essentially meant yet another meditation class was wasted.
Consequently, I found that I often walked out a little more stressed than when I walked in.
Can you relate? Is it just us 'creatives' that have a wandering mind?
You see, I'm not so sure. The more people I connect with, the more I'm realising that perhaps I wasn't the only person in that meditation room trying desperately to relax and let the mind go blank. I have been reminded by a wonderful friend that you don't necessarily have to 'not think' in meditation; just the simple act of mindfulness and just gentle breathing is enough.
It wasn't until I returned to my art that I realised I was instantly in another world; a world that felt safe, nurtured, peaceful and complete. Whether it be working on a new ink mandala and concentrating on the intricacies of the flourishes, or creating an over-scaled acrylic abstract, my sense of inner peace was apparent.
You do not have to be a 'creative' to create. Truly. Creating comes in all forms as well. Sing, write, bake, dance, sculpt, colour, knit, just creating something, anything, will give you a sense of self. The ways to create are vast and the opportunities to delve into a world that connects you, in a way that we are born to do, are limitless.
'I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chao. A stillness that characterises prayer...' ~ Saul Bellow.
Finding a new medium to work with and seeing the results appear before my eyes gives me such a sense of achievement, contentment and overall calmness. So much so, that these days I create daily. It may only be a few minutes, yet even so I feel I've given myself time to reflect, absorb and forget about the busyness and concentrate on the calm.
Yet, it wasn't all plain sailing at first. An artwork might not go to plan and I would find myself slipping into my meditation room days again, getting all upset. Negative emotions would kick in, chastising myself. I realised that art is not necessarily about the outcome, more so about the process.
All civilisations before us HAD to create. It was a necessity to bake bread, communicate with prose, build a fire, sing around that fire. We are now surrounded by immediate gratification, with technology at our fingertips that creates for us, that we are lacking in this innate desire that our ancestors did daily.
Stop yourself from 'comparitonitis' from creeping in. That won't serve you.
Create for YOU. Create for CALM. I assure you, once you start, a whole new world will open up and you won't want to stop exploring.
- Sandy Cousens