Blog Post

The Art of Breathing: Meditation and the Creative Process

First off, I just want to say that I'm very excited to a part of this dynamic and innovative group of scholars. I look forward to hearing your feedback on my work and hope that we have an opportunity to collaborate. Thanks.

I am exploring how artists utilize meditation in their creative process. Increasingly, research has shown relationships between meditative states and positive effects on creativity and personal growth. This is a technique that has historically been part of religious or faith traditions but is becoming more commonplace within a secular context. I am fascinated by how an ancient, contemplative practice such as meditation fits into our modern society. How does solitude and introspection allow us to more fully engage with the dynamism of life? How can technology be used to enhance the practice? Or can it? Additionally, I will explore the history of artists who practice meditation, from Musō Kokushi and Gandharan artists, to Leonard Cohen and David Lynch.

As a complement to the traditional research involved in my MA thesis, I will be creating a short documentary looking at young artists who take part in some form of meditation. The documentary, titled The Art of Breathing, will be a meditation in itself, with stop-motion photography and visual motifs that will bring the viewer into a contemplative place. I am in the process of finding artists (be it musicians, visual artists, actors, etc.) younger than 35 or so who have some sort of meditative practice that they find enriches their creative process. Ideally, these are individuals on the east coast, as I am based in Washinton, DC. The reason I am looking for younger artists is because, in my own experience, I have found less communities of practice that reflect our generation. My hope is that by showing younger artists engaged in meditation, the audience will see that it can be adopted at any age.

Along these same lines, the third portion of my project involves creating a virtual community of artists, in the form of a Wordpress blog, where knowledge and resources can be shared. During my research I have been found wanting of thoughtful discussion around developing discipline, patience, and self-compassion as it relates to the process of creative projects. My hope is that this virutal community will address these shortcomings.

I believe that great art comes about through awareness, empathy, and reverence. I have found my own life, including my creative pursuits, to be deeply enriched by the practice of meditation and contemplation. Developing a deeper understanding of how meditation can enhance the creative process will give artists a steadier footing in which to wade into the current of human experience.

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5 comments

Hi there, and sounds like an interesting project.

 

This sentence confuses me: " The reason I am looking for younger artists is because, in my own experience, I have found less communities of practice that reflect our generation. My hope is that by showing younger artists engaged in meditation, the audience will see that it can be adopted at any age."

What is "our generation"? You presume we know how old you are. I do not.

Best,

Dorothy

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My apologies, Dorothy. I am a 30 year old who has found my life deeply enriched by the pracitce of meditation. Through this practice, I have gained much in relation to my creativity, empathy, and self-compassion. My hope is that this project will connect me with other artists of my generation (as well as other generations) who are finding ways, through self-discipline and mindfulness, to more deeply engage in their creative work.

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Along with Constance Steinkuehler, I'm collaborating with Richie Davidson to create a mindfulness app that helps introduce these practices to middle schoolers. Sounds like you have a lot of expertise in this area (certainly more than me). Feel free to email me if interested.

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Hi Kurt, we should definitely connect. I love your idea! I will get in touch with you. Thanks!

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Greetings:  I have found the work of John Bilby very informative -- see mindfulnessclasses.com -- also see the special issue of the Journal of Film and Video on Teaching Collaboration with an article that I authored,  "The Individual in Collaborative Media Production,"  and one from Ted Hardin,  "Assessing Collaboration." 

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