Art As A Spiritual Practice


Published:

Yogi Stupa by Christine Palamidessi

© George Bouret

I am an artist and yoga teacher. My yoga practice keeps my interior world polished, so, as the Upanishads say, as to be ready for lightening when it strikes. Yoga came to me to support the artist, because it was never a chicken or egg question. The artist in me existed long before the yogini.

Art has always been my spiritual practice. Even as a child art cajoled me to surrender willfulness and led me to a deep engagement with mystery. During the time I was drawing, I had to give up having a purpose, yet remain in my body, breathe, and take in the pulse of my environment. If I looked deeply, rather than see the surface, I could catch a ride with stories, colors, shapes that were calling to be manifested. I could interpret and disrupt the boundary between inside and outside.

This experience is common to many who realize the artistic calling. It happens the day they pick up a pencil and are possessed by the desire to capture the essence of a person or to draw fire; to strike a drum and want to string together sounds; to be totally fascinated when yellow meets a splash of blue on watercolor paper. The calling requires learning technique and being disciplined so that when the lightening strikes they are ready. We become soft and receptive and catch meaningful essence rather than be willfully intent and end up holding only the surface of a thing.

Romano Guardini (1885-1986), the respected Italian-German theologian, said the more purposeful we are in life, the less meaning our life has. This is a good concept for artists to remember. The marketplace is endlessly busy, dedicated to purpose when, in fact, we are meant to be purposeless. So it follows, the more purposeful we are as artists the more alienated we are from meaning.

The words of my New York artist friend Costa Moran have always been inspirational. He said the daily work of doing art is the practice, accepting what comes up, letting go of intention. “Let’s see what happens. Whatever work is going to be made, it just comes through you.”

For many of us, it’s tough to affirm that process and not give in to consumerism and the product-oriented culture that is commodifying everything. Making art as a vehicle for discovery — about self, soul, community, environment, country, world — rather than as a means for making money is when art becomes a spiritual practice. The very lucky artists do art as a spiritual practice and make a living at it.

Spirit is derived from the Old French espirit, which comes from the Latin word spiritus (soul courage, vigor, breath), and is related to spirare (to breathe). Just like a yogi breathes into the pose, an artist breathes into his or her work. The work, like the pose, has a pulse.

German-born conceptual artist Joseph Bueys (1921-1986) said, “Even the act of peeling a potato can be a work of art if it is a conscious act.” I agree. Art is making a shrine or altar within the space of your yoga pose; enjoying getting dressed for the day; listening to the sacred and profane forms of philosophical meandering in your mind and letting them go; being present to silence; preparing a canvas for painting; seeing the soul of something in your camera viewfinder; having an a-ha moment while preparing your child’s snack.

Whatever discipline calls us, we can find grace and blessing within it. A meaningful spiritual practice means breathing, finding the pulse around you, allowing yourself the opportunity to experience the miracle of what is. As Rumi says: “Let the beauty we love be what we do.”

Christine Palamidessi is an artist and yoga teacher. Her “Yogi Stupa” installation can be seen during the month of March at Atlantic Works Gallery, 80 Border Street, 3rd floor, East Boston. www.atlanticworks.org.

See also:
9 Simple Ways to Keep Yourself Healthy
When Art Goes Viral, Will It Also Go Extinct?

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

March 19, 2019

This final day of the astrological year features no exact planetary aspects. The Sun is at the last degree of Pisces, the Sign of the Two Fishes. One looks to the past while the other contemplates the future. It’s a good time to pause and consider your…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

March 2019

Sunday afternoon: 3–4:30pm at Hillside Herbals Spring Tonics II: the spring tonic herbs—it's about circulation, assimilation and elimination—tincturing. Rachel has...

Cost: Drop in Fee $10 includes all materials and handouts.

Where:
Hillside Herbals
Jefferson, MA


Sponsor: Hillside Herbals
Telephone: 508-847-8615
Contact Name: Rachel Ross
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Show More...
Show Less...

March 20–23 9am-3pm each day Experience transformation guided by Mother Mary. Through Divine vibration, you will be aligned for quicker healing and evolving with mind body spirit and...

Cost: $500

Where:
, MA


Sponsor: The LoveLight Center
Telephone: (207) 216-9584
Contact Name: Cheryl Banfield

More information

The American Center for Bioregulatory Medicine and Dentistry (The BioMed Center) is the most comprehensive center in North America for bioregulatory medicine and dentistry. Come see what...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
111 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI
View map »


Website »

More information

Discover how you can release tight muscles and improve range of motion in locked joints in a weekly ESSENTRICS stretch classes led by Raindrop Fisher, certified Essentrics instructor. Raindrop is a...

Cost: $10 drop-in / $100 for 12 classes

Where:
Village at Waterman Lake
Function Room - Chalet Bldg
715 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI  02828
View map »


Sponsor: Healthier Fit Lifestyle
Telephone: 401-678-0950
Contact Name: Raindrop Fisher
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This 8 week series in Tai Chi will provide you with everything you need to get started in a personal Tai Chi practice. Just for Beginners—there is no expectation, and no pressure in...

Cost: $137 for 8 weeks

Where:
Spiral Path Connections
218 Boston Street
Unit 104
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiral Path
Telephone: 978-314-4264
Contact Name: Johanna Hattendorf
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“All we need is love” the Beatles claimed in 1960’s. In fact, we have been looking for love from the beginning of time. We are conditioned that it is love which brings us...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, Suite 1-A
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

“Master your breath, let the self be in bliss, contemplate on the sublime within you.” —Krishnamacharya Join us for an evening of deep exploration and transformation using the...

Cost: $30 (some hardship rates available)

Where:
Spontaneous Celebrations
45 Danforth Street
Jamaica Plain, MA  02130
View map »


Telephone: 617-233-6410
Contact Name: Allen Howell, M.Ed.LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Only $225 if you register for both days! Save $25! Please click here to register for both workshops. This is a 2 day course being held Saturday and Sunday, March 23...

Cost: $125

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, Suite 1-A
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Former Buddhist monk and world renowned healer, Seth Monk, will be giving a Siddha Healing to our community. Seth will be accompanied by Shannon Fitzgerald, an AromaReiki Master for a beautiful...

Cost: $35

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

In her art and spirit workshops, Melissa combines her gift as an intuitive with her extensive background in painting to help you to work through creative blocks and learn or refine technique. Come...

Cost: $150

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Journey back into the experience of peace, harmony and inner power through this unique meditation practice. Explore the power of your thoughts and how they can bring you inner harmony and help you...

Cost: Free

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center & Gallery
1110 Massachussetts Ave
Cambridge, MA
View map »


Telephone: 617-547-1110
Website »

More information

Psychics, mediums, angel readers, spirit art. Reiki, chair massage, IET, Gaiadon Heart, crystal healings, etc. Sign yourself up for a few appointments and bring your friends! Appointments...

Where:
Women Of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Telephone: (508) 230-3680
Website »

More information

6 Saturdays 10am–11:30am February 23–March 30, 2019 Taijiquan (Tai Chi ) is a healing martial art, using breath and movement together to strengthen the body and quiet...

Cost: $120

Where:
Metta Wellness
679 Pleasant Street
Paxton, MA  01612
View map »


Sponsor: Metta Wellness
Telephone: 774-245-5487
Contact Name: Rick Rocha
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags