Meditation and Painting

Lately I’ve been meditating a lot. For the New Year I set a goal to meditate each morning and evening before and after sleep. Then, last week, my husband and I joined an eight week vipassana meditation class. And finally, at the Kenpo Karate school I joined in January, we meditate before and after all lessons and group classes. So this meditation thing has been on my mind…

I think the reason I love meditation is because it’s a time where I don’t have to do anything. Everything stops, including my mind (hopefully) – that’s the goal anyhow. No more dishes, to do lists, worries, goals, thoughts. Nothing matters except focusing on the moment and my body. It’s a given time for silence, rest, and just being instead of doing! It’s like a mini vacation without having to go anywhere.

It’s funny because my mind frets quite a bit the day before the two hour class on Thursday nights. Am I going to be able to sit still? Will I get bored? Why am I doing this again? I’ve already relaxed today and I’ve got so much to do so can’t we just skip this class? Ah the voices…

Then we get to the meditation class and I sit and I start to really enjoy the process of listening to my breathe and observing my thoughts and then letting them go. I really get into it. I feel very relaxed and peaceful.

Then the fear and the voices come right back up. Of course. This is normal the teacher tells us.

This process of meditation is so much like painting.

Sometimes I fret so much before getting to the studio. Will the paintings work out? Do I want to sell them? Why am I doing this? What if they all flop? What about the housework? I don’t feel like painting today….

If I chose to listen and follow the thoughts I might never paint, or meditate for that matter.

My husband knows when I have not been painting. I get seriously bitchy. “ Do you need some studio time?” He asks me, not gingerly, almost pushing me out of thee house towards my studio. Lack of creative time starts to show, not in a good way.

Then I get to the studio and I let myself know that five minutes is enough and we’re just here to have fun. No obligation. Just look around, turn on the stereo. Relax. And then a painting catches my eye and I think of the next layer I’d like to add to it and I reach for a brush and some water and then I look up at the clock and it’s been two hours.

Meditation and painting are very similar birds if you ask me. You hear the voices telling you “don’t do it! Stop! Let’s not!, listen to this…and on and on… etc” and you acknowledge them, maybe even visualize then bubble up away and pop into oblivion, and then carry on.