Thursday, 18 December 2014

The Christmas Hermit

My gratitude is never-ending for this wee home in hideaway hills. 

Surrounded by a million Christmas trees and an ever-changing river song, our morning walks are full of a magic that is more often found amidst the musty pages on your grandparents bookshelf than in the so called 'real world'. Thought-melting views and heart-warming wildlife encounters – there is truly a sense of magic and tranquility in the air that fills these spellbinding uplands of southern Scotland.

I have witnessed the end of a long raspberry filled Summer, a beautiful Larch yellow Autumn and the white cloak of Winter in just these few months. Almost as though the landscape was showing off her wardrobe for us to fully appreciate her beauty.  Natures generosity seems boundless.









Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery is not very far from here. Its tranquil presence is a peaceful heart-beat in the valley I now call home. I am truly honoured and blessed to be learning the gentle art of Thangka  painting at Samye Ling. In these early, slightly dishevelled settling-in days,  I gather together as many hours as I can to sit in front of an enormous canvas that is one of a series of twelve that will tell the story of the Buddhas life.

Prayer wheels, maroon robes and the sound of tibetan prayers are a part of my weeks now and the peace it inspires I will never have words for.




At home, whilst rummaging through my old sketches I found a sketch for a Christmas card.  A robed old man amongst fir trees. His monk like presence and the snow covered trees reminded me so much of this place that I decided it was time to bring him to life.




Far to the North in a land where the Winter nights become so large that the Moon becomes the Sun and the bright light of day rests on the ground. Days where starlight and snow blink and glisten in conversation with each other,  there lives a contented hermit. 

He did not always live here. Time's path travelled him through many lines of latitude and longitude  and as he wandered he gathered bright stories from wise souls. All the while The North constantly calling quietly. Never interfering, gently guiding, until a day finally came when a last wise soul told one last bright tale. A tale that filled the last space in his heart and emptied the last thought from his mind. He had arrived –  he was home.

He lives there still, in Northern quietude, amongst star-song and tree-light with the glow of heartwarming tales twinkling in his eyes.










May your Christmas and New Year be filled with beautiful stories and such a peace as to make your eyes sparkle.



Friday, 17 October 2014

Heart Sung



Here in the hills of Scotland, for the first time in what seems like too many years I feel as though I am my right size. Just as Alice struggled to find her right size in Wonderland, I've found too that living too close to cities and buildings, advertisements and supermarkets that the human forms grow too large and uncomfortable. In that world, the human noises are loud and authoritative – booming voices and opinions pushing and shoving one another like passengers crowding to get on a train. A train that will leave any second and whose doors will close without any regard for you or your companions. And if you are one of the quiet ones it is all too easy to be shoved and bumped and bruised in all the commotions. 
But here, here nature is the biggest thing by far, her silence is the loudest thing I hear,  her weather advertises and chooses my wardrobe, her scenery is my television and I am small again – just the right size.

So now that I fit into my studio again, the paintings have begun. I'd forgotten how much I love the smell of paper and paint and the sound of a paint brush being swizzled in water as I'm drawn to a change of colour.

This one began it's story a while ago but has now finally found its way to completion.

It is a picture of a gentle melody,  a song for Nature the illusionist. Never revealing her secrets of how the acts are performed she is forever changing the scene before our eyes.  A beguiling mixture of composer, conductor and magician – the cast of plants, birds and animals keep her rhythm as she sings and performs her repertoire of always familiar but never the same spectacular show.











A gentle heart-song
an evensong for all
who will sleep
beneath Winters blanket
A soulful calling
of Northfilled winds
laying silent snow
and hiding small snug
creatures and
their warm lullabies
beneath




Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Sound, Story and Soul



  
My favourite picture from one of my favourite books – Au Leshey using a compass, Tibetan Thangka Painting, Methods and Materials, David and Janice Jackson 1984.
 
It seems that for as long as I have been painting I have had a distant and sometimes not so distant voice telling me that I must to find a way to blend spirituality and beneficence into art. It may seem obvious now but for so very many years it kept me restless. Sometimes we are just unable to see clearly the things that sit so close to our hearts.  Even now it is probably clearer to an outsider than it is to me but finally I am beginning to see a faint path to create arts and crafts that may be able to heal and nurture and speak to a multitude of people on a multitude of levels.  
Initially I thought it may have to be a pioneering venture  but  now, as I write, that seems like a crazy notion and I'm not quite sure where it came from. I discovered over years and months and as I wrote and sourced information for the previous posts that healing, art, story and soul are a mix as old as human kind itself.

Each artist and healer brings a little something unique, they breathe a different hue into their craft. Just as each instrument has its own tone and range of abilities so do we all; so I'm now embarking on a journey to start weaving my own set of skills and loves into creating art for healers, for healing, to tell a tale, to bring a peaceful smile.

With my love of Russian illustrations, Buddhist tales and sacred geometry it should be an interesting mix to be sure. But there is one more ingredient up my sleeve. As part of the Spiritual Counselling and Holistic Healing course I have been doing, I have had the pleasure of being taught a unique form of soul guidance by Blue Marsden – Soul Plan. In a most brief explanation, this added ingredient has the potential to personalise and hone the intent of a created image through an added dimension of understanding of sound, shape symbol and vibration. Blue Marsdens soul plan acknowledges each person is affected by certain vibrations associated with certain numbers or pairs of numbers with a core or dominant vibration and number that is the souls plan. This again is hinges on the powerful affects of sound and its energy on our lives. It is an in depth subject worthy of investigation, if you are interested and would like to explore your souls potential you can see his very successful book here.

I have no knowledge of numerology, so I have no direct understanding of numbers and meanings other than through my explorations of sacred geometry.  And so naturally it is here that I have found correlations in meanings and energetic characteristics. That sound and form are directly related still excites me. 

So allow me to show you a few correlations.




In Sacred geometry
1 The Monad -To Pythagoras the number one represented God or the Monad as Pythagoras referred to him. it represents eternity and permanence. One is within all things and the origin of all things. One has no counterpart and no other number exists without one. Nothing can be erected without one, and nothing can be subtracted from one

In Soul Plan
 1 UNITY  -has qualities of stability and spiritual power. Capable of reaching a point of Wisdom beyond good and bad, beyond duality.

In Sacred geometry 
The Duad
Pythagoras called two the duad because everything that is two parts is dual in nature. When there are two of something in this universe they are opposites or opposing each other; light and darkness, good and evil, love and hate, harmony and war, life and death. The duad also represented the dual nature of God, masculine and feminine, divine pairing.

In Soul Plan
2 represents a blend of male and female energies that can bring with it great resilience. An awareness of polarities that can allow them to be objective and a non-judgemental a safe haven for others. 

The correlations continue, not so obvious in some and more obvious in others.

FIVE  is to both, magical, otherworldly, ethereal, in geometry The Pentad is represented by the Pentagram, which is a tool to channel the five elements, earth, air, water, fire, and spirit. in soul plan these people act as a bridge between the physical and the spiritual realms.

SEVEN,  The Heptad

Seven is a number of religion and law. Seven is considered the source of man’s spirituality and is a prominent number in every religion. Seven is a combination of 3 (heaven or the soul of man) added to 4 (earth of the body) to make seven or the spiritual nature of man. If three represents the triangle and four the square, then seven is a combination of the triangle and square, the Masonic symbol of the compass and square.  In history there are seven ages of man, wonders of the world, pillars of wisdom, days of the week, musical notes. In religion there are seven heavens and hells (Islam), seven steps of Buddha (Buddhism), seven archangels (Christianity, Judaism) just to name a few.
In Soul Plan it is spiritual manifestation in action. it is a catalytic energy that can bring people together and capable of affecting great spiritual change in society.

NINE in geometry is the celestial number of order and in soul plan it represents balance of power and qualities of peacemaker.
TWELVE  in sacred geometry represents heaven and earth in soul plan alchemy
and the lists go on...
Each number has a geometric form which carries its own energy. Each soul plan number has it's own symbol. I feel slightly guilty here for skimming over in such brevity a subject matter that is worthy of far more explanation and discussion. In truth I am still a novice to this area of study and my yearning to begin to draw and use these shapes far outweighs my desire to research further at the moment. However in that yearning I have the support of a master geometer - Stephen Meakin. I had the pleasure of having an individual workshop with him late last year and his parting advice was that practice was the key and that the geometry itself would teach me all I needed to know. Take it slow and appreciate each stage. He also told me that the most important point in any piece of sacred geometry I would draw is the pin mark left by the needle of the compass at the centre. From  this tiny , almost invisible mark, all things grow. How beautiful!


Stephen Meakin at work
  So here within all of this new and old knowledge I feel lies an opportunity for new combinations of art and healing. I make no assumption as to the actual correlations between Soul Plan and Sacred Geometry, or what, or where such a search may lead but it seems worthy of exploration.

 Mandalas are an obvious possible interpretation,  using soul plan numbers and geometric forms to create artworks for and to support individuals, families, communities, healers, therapists and businesses.  Sacred geometry has been and still is an important part of the beautiful Thangkas and Mandalas that we see today. It is found everywhere if we care to see it.
If you would like to see sound create form before your eyes, please look  here)


http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthread.php?t=243167&page=10

It is conceivable to combine geometric forms so that a person with a 12:3 Soul Destiny number may have an artwork prepared for them or with them, that is a combination of dodecahedron and a triad. Either as beautiful geometry alone or entwined with pictures or symbols that inspire peace within them. This could be done on so many levels. A business that requires magnetic 7:7 energy can have within its foyer a beautiful heptad, if it is a centre for gathering people possibly a combined image with a 19 sided figure surrounding a centre of 1. Apologies for straying into the realm of Soul Plan without further explanation – suffice to say that there is an interrelationship between sound, form and energy.

The possibilities are endless and whether you believe in such possibilities or not it cannot be denied that there is something about these harmonious kaleidoscopic forms that still our minds. Culturally these natural mandalas are one of the few images that defy our habitual reading of a picture. Ours in The West is left to right, Arabic is written right to left, Japanese in read down in columns and from right to left and so on it goes. No matter where we originate from, when we are faced with a mandala or circular pattern our eyes follow a more rhythmic and flowing movement traveling in and out and around from centre to the periphery and back again. In that difference alone our mind is given a chance to stop. In my own personal experience my vision after exploring the pattern briefly switches from focused one pointed viewing to a more soft focused seeing using peripheral vision. Eyes resting softly on the centre but fully ware of the whole. This mode of peripheral vision triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which induces a peaceful state of being.

The illustrator in me is never far away and so I am also drawn to wild imaginings -   tales winding their way within circles, hidden images within geometry telling stories that feed the heart and still the mind. Inspired by the mandalas and the thangkas of times gone by, each painting crafted as an offering. Combining sound and silence, and maybe naturally ground pigments it is my hope that the images may gently remind the viewer of a resonance and peaceful place within. Like a Russian doll leading the observer deeper and deeper.

http://russian-crafts.com/crafts-history/nesting-dolls-history.html


The first story I intend to build in such a manner is one I heard told by the Venerable Ajahn Brahm, a tale that was once told by the Buddha called 'The Anger eating Demon'.  Both humorous and wise this simple wisdom fable speaks to adults and children about compassion to oneself and others. It would be so lovely to propel this story through image and word out into the world at large. The initial sketches are appearing, weaving together the elements of story telling, sound and geometry. So I am digging up my paint brushes and dusting of the paint tubes and rearranging furniture to make space for the tale to appear.


As the flow of life goes, I could not feel more supported. I have moved to a peaceful cottage in the Southern Uplands in Scotland where I am near to Samye Ling for inspiration and guidance. There is a chance that I may be able to learn the sacred craft of Thangka painting which has been a long held desire. If I am fortunate enough for that to happen I hope to weave those learnings into the artworks.

Surrounded by natures magic, the sound of the river and a thousand Christmas trees it feels as though it is the perfect place to begin a tale.

 


For those of you who may wish to share a journey of any shape or size – commissions and collaborations are welcomed.



In sight of sound


"Silence is the loudest form of prayer"  

Swami Vivekananda


It has long been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe the power of images comes precisely from the fact that it is devoid of the noise of a thousand words and that in silence something beyond intellectual understanding or superficial cognition can be communicated and yet if we look further it is not so easy to separate sound from silence.
The Cosmic Mandala found at Punakha Dzhong in Bhutan is an incredibly peaceful image to look upon. It symbolises the cosmos, giving a universal perspective on all things. It tells us of the basic elements of fire, wind, water and earth and all the emerging forms that can be created. A fifth element ether represents the all pervading condition and source of all the elements that fill space. 
Knowledge of this symbolism is not needed to sense the peace and unity that can be felt from this harmonious work of art.  Somehow it transmits the feeling of the ultimate 'big picture' perspective without dialogue, bypassing the intellect and talking straight to the heart-mind within. Stillness follows and no words are needed. But, is not the image curiously reminiscent of sound projected into matter - just as a rain drops create ripples in a pond?



In all cultures art and spirituality have provided support and guidance for humans as they live out there lives facing the sufferings and joys that accompany us on our way from birth to death.  My own personal leaning is towards Advaita and Buddhism ...philosophies that have spoken to me from my mid teens but across the globe, throughout belief systems old and new, art is used to inspire, to soothe and to tell wisdom tales.  
Being born and brought up in Australia I am keenly aware of the huge roll art plays in the Aboriginal culture. The mesmerising and time consuming paintings that tell the Dreamtime tales of their culture. 


http://www.kateowengallery.com/page/Aboriginal-Dot-Painting.aspx
  
Galya Pwerle's painting style is often carried out in two stages:  first the secret iconography, and then a  magnificent overdotting technique

http://www.deeannmodel.com/the-famous-australia-aboriginal-art/


Storytelling is an integral part of life for Indigenous Australians. From an early age, storytelling plays a vital role in educating children. The stories help to explain how the land came to be shaped and inhabited; how to behave and why; where to find certain foods, etc.
Gathered around the camp fire in the evening, elders told tales of the Dreamtime.
 Story telling is a part of human culture across the globe. Traditional storytelling is often synonymous with song, chant, music, or epic poetry. Stories may be sung or chanted or spoken with musical accompaniment. Folk music had it roots in such places and were in the past as much storytellers as they were musicians.  Names such as bards, ashiks, jyrau, griots reflect their roles which at the time meant they were not only historians and tradition bearers but also spiritual teachers and  healers, for which the stories and music were vehicles.  In Central Asia, the word bakhshi means instrumentalist, singer, and storyteller as well as healer and shaman.
"Like the shaman, the storyteller is a walker between the worlds, a mediator between our known world and that of the unknown – a communer with dragons and elves, with faeries and angels, with magical and mythical beasts, with Gods and Goddesses, heroes and demons, able to pass freely from this world into those above and those below and to help us to experience those other realms for ourselves. He or she is an intensely powerful invoker of elemental powers, of the powers of absolute transformation, who can show us how to confront our most deeply-engrained fears, or teach us how to experience ecstasy or bring us face to face with death or terror of the spirit – with the infinite and incomprehensible. He is not only the archetypal magician but also the archetypal guide." Michael Berman

  
 In days gone by a skilled storyteller would weave his fireside magic - silence and sound, light and shadow were his tools.  His voice, the crackling fire, worked with silence, as his gestures and facial expressions played in the glow and shadow of the flames. Effortlessly creating emotion and imagery within and without of the listeners.  These were our teaching methods, methods that could be adapted to each audience intuitively to bring about the most powerful response. A master storyteller is keenly aware of the depth  and layers of each moment, artistically pulling strings of words into being and following them with rounded silence. His awareness that each is included in the other brings us to a feeling of non-dualism which is where great healing, wisdom and peace can occur.


In Tibet sacred paintings are also regarded as story telling and healing tools and as much good karma or merit (bsod nams) was believed to be created by commissioning a painting as there was in painting it. Viewed as a wholesome manifestation that can be directed to improve a situation or produce a desired good both in this life and the next they are seen as a physical supports for enlightenment.
Tibetans were often advised by religious teachers and leaders to commission paintings for removal of physical or mental obstacles ( bar chad sel bar) or for a long life ( zhabs brtan ).



White tara is the embodiment of compassion. An image of Tara is effective in removing obstacles and granting protection.


Amitayas bestowes long life.


Thangkas were also painted after the death of a relative or dear one to help create the conditions necessary for a happy rebirrth. Lamas determined which deity was to be depicted sometimes by using astrological information or their own insight into the life of the deceased.

Other reasons for commissioning a Thangka is to aid people in their spiritual practice.  These images are often created by lamas as well as artisans and the creation of Thangkas is regarded as a spiritual act. Though the Thangka painter as a Yogi is largely a misconception, most painters are spirtually minded and many are tantric intiates. Most Thangka painters never sign their work and the process of training removes any egoic motivations so that ultimately the painting is created from peace as an offering for the benefit of all sentient beings. With this as an original intention it is not surprising that they are used to help create  sacred spaces, as focus points for meditation and sometimes to enhance visualisations during meditations. 
Pigments were and sometimes still are ground from natural sources, so that blues are made from lapis, greens from malachite etc. With all that is being discovered and explored about the properties of crystals today it has to be considered as a possibly significant ingredient in the creative process.

Sand mandalas are exquisite representations of the beauty and transience of life.
Like all mandalas they are believed to have the ability to transmit beneficial, healing energies to the environment and the to beings who view them and to the whole world. During the construction of each sand mandala ( which may take weeks to complete ) the monks chant and meditate to invoke the divine energies to reside within the mandala. After completion and some time of viewing further ceremonies and blessings take place as the sand is swept up and offered to flowing water to further share the blessings with all beings.
Monks study both philosophy and art for  about 3 years before making such Mandalas



http://karmajello.com/culture/art/tibetan-sand-mandalas-sacred-art.html#_




http://obviousmag.org/en/archives/2008/10/the_creation_and_destruction_of_a_mandala.html


http://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/mandala/mandala6.htm

The medicine men of the Navaho Indians also practice sacred sand painting that like the Tibetan form is also created and then destroyed. Again these artworks are created in a ritualistic manner involving chanting and ceremony to invoke spiritual beings.


http://unbelievablepainting.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/floor-paintings-native-american-sand.html

http://unbelievablepainting.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/floor-paintings-native-american-sand.html




It is interesting to observe the intertwining of silence and sound in these practices.  Sound is chanted either aloud or silently as these images are formed, intertwining the energy of mantra and art as it becomes manifest as a visual form. Mantras are known to be effective both when chanted aloud and in silence within mind. 

"Mantras are not small things. Mantas have power. They are the mind
vibration in relationship to the Cosmos. The Science of Mantra is based on
the knowledge that sound is a form of energy having structure, power, and a
definite, predictable effect on the chakras and the human psyche." Yogi Bhajan

The etymology of the word mantra is complex.
  • manā is devotion, atttachment, zeal.
  • manikṛ - to take to heart.
  • manu – wise, intelligent, thinking.
  • maṇ - sounds
  • maṇī is a jewel.

  • tra- protection, and trā a protector
  • traṃs can mean "to speak" or "to shine". 
"From these we can say that: Mantra protects ( tra) the mind (man) from confusion (trap) and so that one is not afraid (tras). A mantra tears (tru) the veil of illusion (māyā). Protection (tra) is born of the mind (manoja) because a well guarded mind protects on from all evil. A mantra is the function (tra-) of the intelligent mind (manas), it speaks (traṃs) intelligently (manu), it shines (traṃs) like a jewel (maṇī). In the final analysis wisdom (manu) is the best protector (trā), because all is mind (manas) "

 For many thousands of years yogis and mystics have used mantras to aid transformation on a spiritual and mental and physical level. The three are not separated in the way Descartian based western science has come to believe. These Mantras are varied, each one having its own quality, rhythm and effect. Just our our thoughts, feelings and physical being has its own vibratory quality so too do the Mantras. Exposing our being to these mantras can direct our minds  to a different or higher frequency. We can remove ourselves from thought inflicted distress and become engulfed in the nature of the mantra and the vibrations that this arouses and experience ourselves as spiritual beings again. Undifferentiated from one-ness we feel whole and at peace.

George Harrison has said of his lifelong Bhakti practice, chanting is “a direct connection with God." When our spiritual identity is awakened, we experience the unity of all life, which consequently awakens our hearts and opens our capacity for compassion, whereupon we may live out our material lives free of animosity, envy and pride." 

From this it is easy to understand how the formation another form of healing art called Likhita Japa came into being 
Just like other forms of healing or spiritual art written Japa or Likhita Japa is pictorial and or written mantras that again benefit the practitioner in the doing the viewer in the seeing and the environment at large. It is is believed to be very powerful.
 
http://antaryamin.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/mantra-japa-by-mata-amirtanandamayi/

http://jqgaines.wordpress.com/category/likhita-japa-mandalas/



And so the stillness that is felt as one creates or views these images, this silence that is found within is simultaneously filled with harmonious vibrations that are healing and beneficial on so many levels.

Vibration as form is studied in many different ways. 
Dr Emoto is well known for his studies on the effect of vibration on water. Though the studies have provoked some controversy his findings suggest that words, thoughts, feelings, sound, prayer and surroundings are absorbed by and can effect the structure of water. His studies attempt to illustrate this by freezing water molecules and observing the distinct differences in the crystal patterns that occur.






Over and over the interdependence of sound, vibration and form are repeated throughout the arts. It is not always clear where silence begins and ends. Sounds are born from silence and return to silence. Silence can be loud and overwhelming just as sound can be filled with space and peaceful silence. In this recognition of non-dualism can be found peace and healing. And so again the Arts and Healing find themselves sharing space once more.


Monday, 29 September 2014

Art, Healing and Sacred Spaces



"Moments of stillness". 

"Rich, round spaces of timelessness". 

"A gentle aliveness and joy, so full and complete nothing more need be added".  

"An infinitely expanded present".

These are some of the words used by healers, artists, therapists, clients, art lovers, music lovers, Meditators and mindfulness practitioners' to describe the universal experience of 'just being'.


And one more....

"These states for me  shift my attention to my underlying unchanging presence/awareness/spirit instead of being caught up in identification with a separate self with many misguided beliefs and stories about oneself. Coming back to recognize ones essential being creates a space in which beliefs,thoughts,feelings etc are seen as they are...they seem to fall away and lose the power of identification when you relax into the trance or presence of your own essential self"  ( Priyesh.R.K - Sound Healer and Counsellor)


I am so truly grateful for meditation being introduced to me at such an early age - it has been a part of my life for nearly 30 years.  And no, I haven't done it every day. I have had lengthy patches of experimenting with a life without it but it always reappears in some form or another. I get lost, bored or afraid and just like returning home, I know I must sit because there is nowhere else to go. Sometimes the mind is busy and sometimes I have blissfully lost myself in being. 

About 3 years ago I  became a meditation teacher and then decided to branch out a little further into Bowen Therapy and Holistic Healing and Spiritual Counseling.  All methods of healing that I felt honoured silence and stillness. During this time I've reluctantly had to put the paint brush down for a while but it became very clear to me that the most effective therapies, healing and counseling sessions felt just like painting. Just like being in 'the zone'.  That familiar place that many artists slip into, where time loses meaning and mind loses concept of self.

The zone is a big place. Sometimes we just peer into it, sometimes we dip our toes in and sometimes we are lucky enough to just jump right in and disappear. Those inspirational beings that devote their lives to such practices use beautiful names for blissful experiences that  sometimes spontaneously flower from such stillness, names such as Nimmittas and Jhanas.  But, these experiences are never looked for  they are only found. Just a beautiful byproducts of releasing any attachment to life or any expectation of a result. There may be an initial intent but the key is in the letting go.


These moments must arrive unexpectedly. The unavoidable requirement for their arrival is lack of expectation itself, a complete letting go. This place, this experience, is by its nature beyond word-full descriptions, beyond the artists brush, beyond the poets pen, beyond the healers sanctuary and beyond the sanctity of sacred spaces. Nevertheless I believe it is within the realm of these to inspire recognition of that state of being - to act as a trigger for a spontaneous experience of unity. A loss of self that allows us to feel whole. Experiencing stillness puts us back in touch with wisdom and sources of healing. I feel it is the core ingredient in any healing session, any painting session and in sacred spaces. If we are to be the best we can possibly be in any given situation it is our humble purpose to get out of the way and allow life to happen. Of course that's where it can get tricky! We are human, we form attachments – emotions and expectations follow. It is not always easy to remain peaceful in our societies where our values and behaviours have been built upon histories worth of human struggles to find security and happiness in pursuits that are akin to chasing a desert mirage.  

Compassion in its most beautiful and wise form humbly comforts the human whilst guiding the soul.

Healers, Therapists and Artists, like Architects and Engineers, build bridges and offer maps, provide safe places and tool kits to comfort and guide. Not all tools and maps are right for all people, there is no one size fits all. Sometimes it may even require a tailor made approach, just as the Zen master gives just the right koan at just the right moment to his student so that he can abandon logic and make the leap into 'no mind' into 'just being'.  

'What was your original face like before you were born?' 

To practice our skills and crafts with as much 'being' as possible, to produce our art and practice our therapies from real stillness is in itself a medicine for ourselves and others. A humble method of being where we cannot lose sight of the remembrance that what we are doing is providing safe passage and that the final destination is not anyone's to give or receive as it already exists within all things.

This 'being-ness' is the birthright of all living things not just healers and artists. It can be found by anyone at any time during any activity, but just for this small while I would like to take you on a little tour to explore the nature of the connection between the beautiful worlds of art, healing and sacred spaces. To see that the intention of creating sacred spaces combined with artistic skill and absence of self brings with it a special kind of beauty. A beauty that has a deep resonance with stillness and peace and is able to inspire us to recognize that same beauty in that which we normally perceive as ordinary.  

Here is collection of images of sacred places and healers words about sacred spaces.



Photo by Marjana Zefran of Nasir al Molk Mosque, Iran

"A clear beautiful space greatly assists the process - when one is in a tranquil atmosphere which has a dedicated intent it is much easier to meditate effectively.  It is possible to meditate anywhere but there are sometimes more distractions/ obstacles to overcome." ( RK Sound healer, therapist, musician )


http://www.travelindia123.com/golden-temple-amritsar-punjab-india.html
Amritsar India

"Sacred space seems to have a energy current which pulls ones attention back into oneself.. i have been visiting many sacred spaces on this trip in india..i feel the presence and energy of those places shift me into recognising the space within myself..." ( P.K Sound Healer)



Komyozenji Temple, Dazaifu

"Peaceful and tranquil to look at but I have to admit if I were there I would want to take my shoes off and walk in it - hmm , so It may not have inspired inactivity but it inspired spontaneity and is that not stillness in action? "


Faith, Hope and Charity by Edward Burne Jones

"...the peaceful cool hush within a church. Somehow the resonant muffled sounds drifting around big cathedral spaces calm our minds and awaken our senses. Colours appear brighter."

Edward Burnes Jones - An Angel Playing a Flageolet

“Form is never valued for its own sake, but only so far as it serves to provide experience of religious or metaphysical truth. What is sought in form is an indwelling presence, the “soul” imprisoned in the material.”– Madhu Khanna, in YANTRA




Russian Orthodox community in Alaska

".......creative, reflective, connected, supported, nourished, loved, empowering."


"I find that art adds new dimensions to any room/space, and really guides me to feeling this amazing sense of unity and eternity, as if time didn't exist. I believe that art can take you on a journey and that it can amplify the energy of a sacred space, as well as build one from scratch" (Jessica Seletti Artist and counsellor)

Garima Gospels


St Stephens Orthodox Church

Such skill and beauty dedicated to enhancing feelings of peace and unity. The aims of both artist and healer alike. We are now entering a new era where our spiritual evolution is requesting spiritual spaces and practices outside and beyond that of traditional religious places. It is not that they no longer speak to us, we only have to look at the pictures above to see that they do but there is a space opening up, a merging of art forms. Who can say what will emerge but if it is conceived with an intention of inspiring peace and is created from stillness, it will, as it has done before serve as a humble signpost to that which humans seek daily, find rarely and have no words for.

http://www.stevendaluz.com/Artist.asp?ArtistID=1814&Akey=8MKJWHEB
Steven Daluz






Healing and spiritual spaces vary enormously as can be seen. Unique in their own mix of colour, space, light and geometry. Affecting individuals differently according to our culture and sensitivities.
Paintings and spaces whether humbly honouring this earthly existence or lavishly attempting to manifest and unite  heavenly places with this earthly realm are ultimately intended to bring peace. Whether the imagery or spaces are viewed as metaphorical or real, to me, it doesn’t matter. What matters is peace of mind and the resulting sense of wellbeing and open-hearted compassion that follows. 
We have all had beautiful experiences that though they may have been initiated outside of ourselves caused a recognition of beauty and harmony within. The virtue of such inner harmony is the ability to see beauty in all manner of forms and actions that hitherto may not have been recognized or even judged as un-beautiful. The sparkle in an old womans eye as she watches children gently bicker over a ball. An old curled and half eaten leaf falling into a cup of coffee. The smell of dust when the heating is first turned on in winter… just so.

From this harmonious space of inner beauty and non-judgement the healer and artist is able to kindle/ ignite through recognition the same flame in others. And so the healer and the artist and the space entwine together to serve as one.