Buddha-watching-TV by Nam June Paik

Art as the Focus of Meditation

I’ve always felt that visual art could be the focus of meditation, but I really don’t know much about that practice, so I had just assumed that my notion was the idle speculation of an uninformed person.

Today, though, I did a little Googling on the terms “meditation focus”, and — by Jove! — I think I may be onto something. Here, for example, is a quote from Elizabeth Scott in response to the question “What Is Focused Meditation?”:

“Focused meditation involves focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and turning off your internal dialogue. Unlike classic meditation—where you focus on nothing to quiet your mind—with focused meditation, you still remain in the present, but focus wholly on one thing, typically sensory stimulus like sounds, visual items, tactile sensations, tastes, smells, and even your own breathing—much like mindfulness meditation techniques.”

As an artist, I was especially interested to see that “visual items” qualified as one among many things that have the power to quiet chattering minds. (Again, I had sensed this intuitively, and I know that it’s not really news for most painters and sculptors, but it felt nice to be validated by Ms. Scott’s article.)

I plan to use this line of thinking as a guiding principle of my art-making from here on out. Aside from the joy of self-expression, what better goal could one have than to be a “facilitator of focused meditation”?

If I had any ego left, I would be proud of that label.   😉

Photo: “Buddha Watching TV” by Nam June Paik, acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 2000.

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