DR PUSHPA CHATURVEDI urges us to ignite our creativity to connect to our true selves and fill our beings with positive vibrations of peace, hope and happiness
Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” said Pablo Picasso one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. One couldn’t agree more with him. It’s easy in everyday life to be swamped by what goes in and around us and get drowned in negativity. Art renews our soul by offering us joy and allowing us to think positively and forget sorrow.
Now fully engrossed in my new-found lockdown-generated passion of sketching and painting, initiated in April 2020 at the age of 78, I have realised that I have created a silent space of my own, which has connected me with my true self.
I feel released from negative, anxious wandering thoughts and emotions in these difficult Covid times. I now experience positivity, inner calm, and peace.
Being new to this art, I often get stuck, mess it up, but then I never give up either, because once one basks in the shade of calmness, it’s not easy to stray into restlessness.
I just let myself go, improvise the mess, get into the flow, enjoy the journey of creation and allow it to emerge and develop into something different from what I imagined. When this happens and I see the end product, I feel grateful even though I know it’s not so artistic or flawless, and I have a lot more to learn.
Art has become another anchor apart from creative writing, to save my sanity that has been disturbed in these uncertain days, with so much grief around, four Covid frontline health warriors in the family working relentlessly, facing professional, emotional and personal challenges without complaining, and never sharing their dilemmas with me, lest I get upset. The solace of travelling into the arms of nurturing nature, which I often enjoyed earlier has also become a distant dream.
Any creative activity is a potent recipe for our psychological well-being. When you get completely absorbed in what you do, nothing else seems to exist in your mind, in that room or in that environment. You feel completely insulated from the outside world, and free to explore your inner potential. With the stillness around and within, you are fully focused on the activity you are involved with. Time just flies.
Thoughts of the outside world, thoughts which stress us, thoughts created from our worries all seem to take a back seat, and vanish. What matters is just you and your union with your passion.
To be immersed in one’s passion, which can be anything from creating art, music, even cooking, or concentrating on a sports practice activity, is about reaching a state of consciousness and breaking free from the constant crippling chatter of the mind. A feeling of natural fulfilment and peacefulness seems to arise from within.
Meditation in Hindi means Dhyaan, which in turn means paying full attention. Creating art or for that matter creating anything one is passionate about is a way to pay full attention to the present activity, to stay fully awake in the now, and in turn, to gain access to a meditative state of mind of profound tranquillity, which brings healing and hope.
Eckhart Tolle, the author of the famous book, The Power of Now, writes that “Artists experience that creative activity has the potential to tap into a space of true consciousness of being, void of interpretation. In this space, there can be a sense of having no physical parameters; no body, or form to separate one from the other.”
The idea of formal meditation, sitting still, cross-legged and witnessing thoughts, letting them slide away from the mind while focusing on breathing, may not be easy and often do not go well with most, though we all know it’s the most popular way to meditate.
One of the biggest frustrations in traditional meditation is that while sitting still, we tend to get distracted easily. Our body gets restless, and we may suddenly feel the urge to move the arm or to scratch the nose. The mind also keeps wandering. It needs a lot of will power and practice to stay still and physically inactive.
But when we are in the midst of creating something we are passionate about, our body and mind get willingly preoccupied, focused on that creative activity and thus we remain sincere and steadfast instead of feeling physically fidgety or having stray thoughts.
Creative art helps to actively train the mind to increase awareness and accept feelings and thoughts without judgment. It relaxes the body and mind and connects us with the soul.
Even long brisk walks and spending time with nature are very healing and meditative. As we keep walking, we savour the beautiful creations of nature, the good hormones surge and allow the mind to contemplate on things in a much more positive, accepting and peaceful state.
“Art is a guarantee to sanity,” said Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist who died in 2010 at the age of 98. She recalled making small sculptures out of bread crumbs at the dinner table when she was a little girl ― as a way of dealing with her dominating father. Art was more than an escape for her; it kept her sane.
The legendary South African cartoonist Dov Fedler demystifies the act of putting pen to paper as he says, “If you can write you can draw. I believe you should learn to draw because you already can.” On reading this, I felt highly motivated to practice sketching and painting. So why not you?
What are you waiting for? Pick up your pencil, pen, brushes and paints and just start creating. Or follow your passion of creating music or any creative art you are zealous about and experience the nurturing of a space within you that connects you to your true self and fills your being with positive vibrations of gratitude, peace, hope, contentment and happiness. Make creativity your new meditation.
(Featured Image: Painting by Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi)
Dr Pushpa Chaturvedi, a paediatrician with over 50 years’ experience, is an educationist and researcher, with over 100 research publications, mainly on social paediatrics in renowned medical journals. Ex-Professor and Head of Department of Paediatrics, MGIMS Sevagram, Wardha, she is a thinker, writer, poet, artist and a spiritual blogger with over 500 blogs to her credit. Dr Chaturvedi is also a keen traveller, music and nature lover.