Our latest experiences and creative treasure boxes contain both tools to help meditation and creative exercises. I have always found creativity and meditation to go happily hand in hand (and indeed science proves they activate the same type of brainwaves). I've just qualified formally as a meditation teacher via the British School of Meditation and here's some of my journey to this place....
Throughout most of my life I have dipped in and out of the practise of meditation - sometimes not entirely sure what it was or even how I felt about being someone who meditated.
I started connecting with meditation as a concept and a practise when I was doing an ‘A’ Level in Buddhism and Christianity in my teens. I was fascinated by the comparisons between the two religions and tentatively tried Zen meditation. Although I enjoyed it I found it hard and wrongly felt I had to perhaps commit to a religion to practise it properly.
Around the same time I went to a silent retreat at a Christian convent. This was also an enjoyable but challenging experience. Their way of meditating was different again and involved chanting and long periods of silence and contemplation.
So in my teens and twenties I associated meditation with religion and belief. It wasn’t until much later that I understood religion and meditation are not necessarily connected and I felt free to meditate in a different way.
After a period of ill health I realised I could lower my blood pressure significantly with daily meditation. It made me feel more in balance and gave me tools to centre myself in times when life was tough. Overall I was calmer, less stressed and happier when I meditated. Meditation helped ease pain and discomfort as well as improving my sleep.
When I started teaching more in my early 40’s I realised that I had worked into my practise as an artist a period of refocussing and meditation before I started to work in the studio. Sometimes this was as simple as a few minutes of centring my attention and breathing; sometimes it meant going for a mindful walk; doing some tai chi or just sitting and noticing my thoughts, observing them and letting them go before I worked. I hadn’t really noticed how beneficial this was to my creative process, it was just something I did. I did notice however how much a busy mind, stress and tension affected the creative process of those I was teaching.
And so slowly I began to explore more about meditation. I did more tai chi; a course on embodiment and somatics, yoqi, I read and practised mindfulness, took part in shamanic meditation and journeying, experienced meditation on retreats and used it more and more in my daily life. I tentatively introduced some of my meditation practises occasionally to those I was leading on a creative journey. I discovered their experience was richer, easier and more satisfying because of it.
To my mind creativity has never been so important in our world as it is today - and yet the stress of fast paced contemporary living makes it tough to achieve the space and time to access it. Creativity is vital to our personal lives as well as our professional ones. To be able to think and act creatively helps us problem solve and grow as humans. I know meditation can help access that creative part of ourselves more easily, to have a richer and more fulfilling connection to life.
I hope you'd like to join me at Happy House for some creative experiences that will combine some of what I have learnt from meditation too.
Josie Beszant and/or Ian Scott Massie, both artists from Masham North Yorkshire, Uk.