Meditation and Art

Part of a perfect meditation space are the visuals, which should support your practice. These images might just be peaceful and quiet, or they may depict a particular image that brings peace to you. It might be religious such as an sacred image of Jesus or Mary. Or it might be the Buddha, or some similar image that inspires your heart like the Hindu Gods or Goddesses. It might also be a peaceful landscape or abstract. Whatever the choice, enjoy finding the perfect image.

Medicine Buddha thangka
Medicine Buddha thangka

For instance, if you are a Buddhist as I am, you might have a beautiful hand painted thangka. A thangka is a hand painted image of the Buddha in his/her many forms. It might be Tara, the Mother Buddha, or the Medicine Buddha for those who pray for the health of themselves or others, or the Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of compassion. Each of these beautiful images have traditional supporting surroundings that are depicted by a skilled and highly trained dharma artist, creating what is intended to support particular practices or intentions. Or may just simply be connected to your heart when you see it, something you find inspirational.

If you lean towards a Christian belief there are many prints or paintings of beautiful beings that bring inspiration. Such as Jesus himself, or Mary, the Mother of God. There are also beautiful paintings of great saints such as St. Therese or other great beings. Any of these images that might bring you spiritual inspiration would be appropriate and very personal.

Another Christian image is of angels. There have been many great artists who have focused and been inspired by the idea of angels: guardian or otherwise. There are websites with posters and prints that specialize on Angels, and during the Christmas season particularly there are many images you can download or purchase in a store that specializes in Christian literature.

Another subject for artwork might be abstract paintings that are calm and beautifully painted that bring inspiration and peace. If you chose an abstract be sure it’s calming in it’s communication. Calm colors such as blue or green are good.  Curving shapes with circles or curvilinear lines also inspire peace and comfort. Avoid hard lined sharp edges such as squares, intersected points like arrows or things that appear to be piercing or cutting. Bright colors can be beautiful such as orange, red or yellow, but the idea of a meditation space is to bring quiet to the mind. All of this being said, if the painting or prints gives YOU peace, even if it’s sharp shapes, or bring colors, don’t hesitate to use it. This isn’t a usual response, but it’s important that you go by your response to the artwork. Sometimes it’s the way the painting is executed that’s peaceful, or how the shapes appear in the painting as harmonious.

Craig Mooney's landscape oil painting
Craig Mooney’s landscape oil painting

One of the most inspirational images can be beautiful pictures or paintings of peaceful landscapes.  Landscape paintings can transport a meditation session from noisy to peaceful and quiet very quickly. Some people just don’t relate to religious images as much as they do to a simple painting of  a distant mountain or abstract landscape of water and sky. One Buddhist meditation is on emptiness or simplicity and quietude in the here and now, and this type of print or painting would easily support that type of meditation.

Whatever the image or artwork you chose, remember to chose the image because it brings some kind of inspiration to you, not for others to see. In most spiritual practices we try to do things for others. In this case what you are doing for others is choosing  an image that brings you the peace and quietude that will support your practice and meditation.  Your peaceful mind and accomplishment will help others feel calm too.

Happy meditation! Blog on.