What exactly is Mindfullness??
How do we become more Mindful??
How does being Mindful benefit us?
These are the questions asked by everyone as not many understand the importance of being Mindful!
Recently I was invited as a Panelist by Club 'Have your Say' to speak on this topic, since I have been working on my Mindfulness, through my Art practices, and also been launching my own workshops and programs to teach the people around how to be a better and more productive human being by practicing Mindfulness.
As I delved deeper into the subject I came across many practices for Mindfulness involving not just Art, but Dance, Music, playing any instrument. Even eating, washing dishes, embroidery and much more can be mindful activities.Any activity you do while being present in the moment, helps you achieve mindfulness.
I realised that this concept is actually a very ancient practice which our Rishis Munnis have been doing since eternity!!
India is a vast Secular country and in our Hindu faith we follow these Mindful practices on a daily basis, be it our morning Pooja rituals, our meditation practices, yoga etc. Infact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made India the Yoga Capital of the world and also popularised it by making June 21st The International Yoga day.
We can safely say that Meditation and yoga have originated from eastern countries like India and Nepal where in Hinduism and Buddhism, the sadhus and Monks attain their Moksha and enlightenment by doing rigorous Meditation and living a very disciplined but tough life.
In general, Mindfulness was popularised in the East by religious and spiritual institutions, while in the west its popularity can be traced to particular people and secular institutions. Ofcourse, even the secular tradition of Mindfulness in the west owes its roots to Eastern religions and Traditions.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, Aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reacting or getting overwhelmed by what's going on around us.
Whenever you bring awareness to what you're directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you're being mindful. And there's a growing research that shows that when you train your brain to be mindful, you're actually remodelling the physical structure of your brain.
Therefore the goal of mindfulness is to wake up the inner workings of our mental, emotional and physical processes.
Mindfulness industry today is the fastest growing and will be the most blooming industry by 2029 as everyone is looking for answers for their stress and anxieties.
Now the question is how to practice Mindfulness?
1) Meditation - Meditation is the oldest form of Mindfulness practice. Its origin is from eastern countries like India and Nepal where Hinduism and Buddhism is primarily practiced. This doesn't mean it is not practiced in other religions! It's also widely practiced in religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
In Islamic context, mindfulness is the virtue of Muraqabah, a word which is derived from the root meaning " to watch, observe and regard attentively"
In Christianity, Mindfulness is embracing God's promise of abundant life- living life fully by being entirely present in each moment and accepting our experience in each moment as a gift from God!!
Meditation itself is Exploring. It's not a fixed destination. Your head doesn't become vaccumed or free of thought, utterly undistracted. It's a special place where each and every moment is momentous and profound. When we meditate, we venture into the workings of our minds, our senses, our emotions, our breath and thoughts.
Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind and approach our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others. For example, through Mindful moment practices like taking time to pause and breathe when the phone rings instead of rushing to answer everytime it rings or when there is status update, likes or comments on our Instagram feeds!
Or while driving to work and encounter red lights at every traffic signal, instead of getting agitated, bringing our thoughts, feelings and emotion to the centre of our being and trying to concentrate on our breath to come home to ourselves, our very core centre. This not only calms us down but also help us see life in a bigger perspective!!
This is why world renowned Meditation and Mindfulness experts and researchers describe that courageously turning inwards and meeting difficult emotions with kind compassion is Transformational.
2) Mindfulness through Art
This is something very close to my heart. Being an Artist, have been practicing art since childhood. I always felt safe and calm while surrounded by colors, paints, paint brushes etc. Even visiting an Art supplies store is like a child visiting a candy shop for me, i simply can't resist picking supplies more than i actually require!
Now, as a full fledged Artist my time spent in my studio is the best and most peaceful time for me. It's my zen zone, my safe place and i simply love creating what I am passionate about!
Nature is what inspires me and i try to capture it in the most humble way possible and express myself in a very abstract, textured, vibrant and contemporary way.
Let's talk about the beautiful and creative practice of Mindfulness through Art.
Art is a Natural path to Mindfulness.
The colors, textures and sounds of creating art pulls us into the moment. You don't need any previous training to meditate through Art, just a willingness to draw like a child with freedom and a sense of curiosity.
No matter how skilled or unskilled you consider yourself, approach your art with a ' beginner's mind'. Focus on the process of creating rather than the outcome on the page.
Simply drawing something which you see everyday such as a coffee mug, chair or even a pen on your desk can start your meditative art.
There are many other techniques used in Art which I use as Meditative Art therapy like Mandala Art, doodle and zentangle, Tantra and sketching with non dominant hand. I use all these techniques while playing meditative music specific for these activities which help you relax and take you into a trance. It helps you declutter your mind and erase all negative thoughts to achieve more Focus and clarity to go after your goals.
I also recommend you to maintain an Art journal, which can be a small sketch book you can carry in your bag anywhere. Similar to a writing journal in which you can pen your thoughts. You just need a pen or pencil to start sketching or journaling when you are anxious or restless. This practice should be done for 15-30 mins everyday. As you get comfortable with this practice, you can start doing this for longer periods of time. But as with meditation practice, short Bursts feel more comfortable. Pay attention to the experience of drawing or painting through your senses. Notice what the pen, pencil or brush feels like in your hand.
As you observe the artwork, look at it closely what is the nature of the lines or brush strokes on your page. Are they smooth or bumpy? Light or dark?
Instead of judging it as good or bad, approach the process of creating Art with curiosity and acceptance and remember that no one else can do it exactly as you do. That's what makes it Art.
Water Color doodle
Drawing with your non dominant hand is a practice which helps you focus since you are not in a habit of using it. The drawings are child like and imperfect. It helps you accept your imperfections and heal your inner child as you go back down memory lane to when you were fearless..
All these activities are designed in such a way that not only make these sessions fun but also help work on our cognitive brain development.
It's a scientifically proven study that when we practice Mindfulness in any form it delays ageing of brain cells, sharpens memory, increases your Potential, creativity and you become better Focused and goal oriented. Isnt that we all want!!!
Process is more important than the outcome.
So, now I have curated a complete program to teach Mindfulness through Art.
I have also collaborated with a beautiful dancer, choreographer and also Mindfulness through Dance movements and flow practitioner, Mridvika.
Together we work on your mindset, help you get clarity in your thoughts and work towards achieving your highest potential!
To know more on the subject and about the programs you can connect with me directly on my whatsapp no 91 9810052753
Deep Gratitude to my
Art Guru Shree Naren Sen Gupta
Mindfulness through Art Guru Ms Gopika Nath
My Coach Guru Shilpa Singh and Coach Guide Sushmita Sen Gupta