2.3 Artistic meditation – A meditation using art and imagery
Materials required: Sketching paper, crayons, colored pencils and other artistic aids appropriate to the exercise (e.g. clay); a listing of the 13 expressions of the Golden Rule – to access this listing, click here. To avoid printing all five available languages, select only the language you need.
Note: You may want to employ other art forms to do this meditation, e.g. dance, physical movement, poetry-writing, story-writing or musical composition. Given the nature of some of these art forms, it may be necessary to adjust some of the following instructions accordingly.
- Prepare yourself
Prepare yourself for meditation by any means that you find to be effective. You may want to consider Appendix 4: Tips for preparing for meditation and reflection.
- The Golden Rule
In a slow and reflective fashion, read the 13 expressions of the Golden Rule. Take as much time as you need with these writings.
- Prepare yourself
- Select an image
As you read, be aware of any image or images that come to mind. Select an image that best expresses your understanding, your sense, your perception or your experience of the Golden Rule.
- Create an image
Draw, paint or otherwise create (in clay, collage, dance, music or other medium) your chosen image of the Golden Rule. Feel free to have fun with this exercise – let yourself go! Do things you have not done before!Please note: This exercise is not about artistic talent. It is simply about accessing and expressing your non-verbal, inner reactions to the Golden Rule. A simple stick figure is as adequate as a sophisticated work of art. Resist the temptation to judge your work from an artistic perspective.
- Your reactions
Having completed your artwork, reflect on what it was like for you to create this non-verbal expression of the Golden Rule. Was it easy? Was it difficult? What feelings were evoked in you? What feelings are present with you now? What did you learn about yourself in this exercise? Did you gain any new insights about the Golden Rule? Jot down your reflections in your journal or on a separate piece of paper.
- Going deeper
Spend some time gazing at or reflecting on the artwork that you have created. Be present to it. Consider it in all its details. Allow this piece of art to make its way into your heart. Let it impact you. Let it speak to you. Let it do something to you. Jot down in your journal or on a piece of paper what it is that your artwork does or says to you. Again, refrain from judging your work from an artistic perspective. Allow yourself to savour this creative experience.
Application to a group experience:
The above meditation is designed for individual use but can easily be adapted for a group experience. This meditation is particularly adaptable for use with young people (for example, in a classroom, retreat or youth education setting). Here are some guidelines for any facilitator who wants to organize a group meditation:
- Individuals work separately and in silence, making their way through the above six steps under the guidance of the facilitator.
- After completing Step #6, individuals work in pairs or groups of three sharing the images (or artistic expressions) they have created and the insights they have gained during this exercise. Participants are encouraged to share as much as they feel comfortable sharing.
- Participants can also share their written reflections with one another, although the right to privacy in this regard must be emphasized and respected.
- Next, some of these images and insights can be shared and discussed in a plenary session that includes all participants. The plenary session could take the form of a Golden Rule art gallery in which the various images are exhibited and explained. Or a Golden Rule recital featuring, for example, musical and dance performances. Or a story-telling session.
- The facilitator is responsible for providing required materials and for creating and managing the schedule of this group meditation. The facilitator is free to make adaptations to the activity schedule suggested here.