This image is of a Susan Point sculpture in the rotunda at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The power of art can come, in part, through how it is set into space. I chose this image both for the art and how it interacts with the space it is in. This image is enough on its own. If you find you want something more, perhaps something to lead you into a calmer state, here are some words that might bring you deeper into yourself as you meditate on this image:
Wherever you are, standing, sitting, lying down, just take a minute to feel your feet below you. Now, breathe, in, and out … now a little slower. In, and out … now a little deeper. In, and out. Feel your breath in your chest, with the next breath, feel it in your stomach, and now with the third breath feel it in your abdomen. Allow the breath to run down your body like water, all the way down to your toes. Wiggle each toe.
Look into the image and allow your gaze to move around. Notice colours, shapes, name things if you want to, but let those names drift out again. Notice any feelings that come up … do you feel calm, uneasy, dizzy? Stay with the image. If you find you struggle to stay present with it, distract your mind. Jump from one tile to the next and occupy your mind with “light” “dark” “light” “dark”, as you allow your body to relax. Or follow the steps down, allowing your mind to repeat the words: “down, down, down”. And then go back up, repeating: “up, and up and up” in your mind. Just like counting sheep allows you to fall asleep, so this allows your body to relax into a state of calm, to relax and notice how the image reflects into your mind, your body, your heart, your abdomen, your legs …
Feel each part of your body. Check in, how does my heart feel? How does my stomach feel? Is there tension there? Can I breathe into it? Do this without judgement. If you feel tension, simply notice it, and breathe into it if you can. But noticing is enough. This is good. You have noticed what you didn’t before you came here. This is a giant success.
With each breath in, notice your body, with each breath out, notice how your gaze falls on the scene before you. Breathe in anything it brings up. Breathe it in to your entire body. Breathe out anything it stirs up in your body. Now in that moment of pause, between the out breath and in breath, notice how the image looks different – just that split second – just the impression. Now breathe that in and feel it in your heart, in your belly, feel it trickle down to your toes. And again, breathe out anything this has stirred up. Let it go without judgement, without pause. How does the image look different? Breathe it in fully, and breathe out, releasing.
Breathe in the impression, breathe out and release. breathe in impress, breathe out release. As you breathe in and out you can repeat: impress, release, impress, release.
Allow gentle and subtle movements in your body.
If you are standing, gently shift your weight from one leg to the other. Slightly bend your knees. Use subtle body movements to keep yourself engaged with how your body is responding to the impressions.
If you are sitting, keep your feet planted on the ground, and your awareness grounded. Gently tip your hips side to side and front to back and feel the sensations in your mid-section. Feel how the lungs and heart respond to the gentle movements. If you start to get sleepy, rub your hands across your face, or stretch your arms over your head.
Impress, breathe in, release, breathe out, impress, breathe in, release, breathe out …
You can remain here, just breathing or, if it feels safe, you can step into the image. Where are you now? How does it feel? Are you at the top of the stairs? What are you responding to? Do you want to move closer? Do you want to move farther? Allow your intuition to guide you. Allow your body to move in response to this intuition. Feel each movement in every part of your body. As you move closer to your destination, allow any questions to form. How does my body feel? Am I eager? Am I tentative? Am I protective? Feel your question in your heart. It may be vague, it may be a half question, it may only be a feeling. Now ask your question intently and softly.
You know your question has been heard and you feel calm and assured. You may be opening up the answer, you may see your answer clearly, or you may see a promise of understanding … you don’t know when, but there is a promise and you trust that. You trust that it will all be made clear at the right time. Keep breathing. Breathe in and breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.
You have what you came for. Keep breathing as you walk back the way you came. Stay present with your feelings here, take your time. Slowly walk back out of the image, one foot, then the other. Holding the railing, stepping up or down, then out of the painting and back to where you are sitting or standing. Keep breathing, impress, release, impress, release. Take all the time you need here. Continue the subtle movements in your body and bring these new feelings and sensations with you to your next experience. Your very next experience, which will be standing up, or walking away from your computer, from this image. Allow the feelings to breathe in and out as you walk to the kitchen for a drink of water. Impress, breathe in, release, breathe out.
The core of this Art Meditation is over, but notice how the world looks different? What do you see around you? Are you impressed by a plant you walk by every day? Take a moment to let it sink in, then release what it stirs up. Do you see art in the design on the plate you pull from the cupboard? Let it impress you, then release what it stirs up. You now notice more, you are impressed by more. Stay with these feelings for as long as you can. And when you feel far away from them, find something that stirs you up again, find something that ignites your emotions. Then breathe it in, and breathe it out. Impress, release, breathe in, breathe out, impress, release, breathe in, breathe out …