It’s possible you already know that I have been teaching Mindful Mondays at the Rockhampton Art Gallery for the past few weeks; and for many more weeks to come, hopefully. We have approval for funding three more sessions, so if you think this is a great idea, don’t delay and join me at the Gallery 7am Mondays. If we don’t use it, we lose it.
It sounded like a something I would enjoy when the gallery first approached me to teach mindfulness there. Ever since my high school art studies, I have been a lover of art, and a supporter of galleries where I have lived. Numerous original works by local talent hang in my home. However, I feel compelled to share with you just how special an experience it has been to teach mindfulness meditation in this beautiful space.
For our first session together I chose to keep it simple and introduced mindfulness of the physical body, and breath awareness. In addition I chose one painting behind where I was seated to focus on for the sitting still practice. Perhaps it is the cave-like quality of the upstairs gallery, or perhaps it was the colours of the painting…I can’t be sure it was any single thing…but I left feeling what a privilege it had been to meditate in the gallery with the five special people who had joined me that morning.
The second week I was wondering what I was doing driving from Emu Park before the sunrise when it would have been so nice to stay snoozing in bed as the shorter days of Winter had arrived. However, I had my answer by the time I was walking out of the gallery a short while later. That morning I decided to integrate some mindful walking around the Ian Fairweather collection, and then each of us chose one of his works to sit with for a short period, then closing with a short relaxation practice. Mindful contemplation of his work had captured my interest, and my devotion to this new approach of combining meditation and art in the gallery. Quite simply, I was happy, and it was worth the early rising and the drive.
We so often hurry past beauty that is all around us, looking, but not really seeing, noticing briefly but not really receiving the message held there; and the message will be different for everyone. An artist is communicating with us whenever they create; but communication is two directional, and so the observer brings with them their own experiences. Their perceptions are their own. We leave so little time for this in our daily lives, but taking this time to just be with the art in the gallery has reminded me not to hurry by. Pause and listen to the message that might be there for you.
I will be guiding people through mindfulness of emotions, mindfulness of thoughts, and mindfulness of the stillness, in the weeks ahead. I look forward to discovering what added layer of the experience will occur when we practice these mindfulness meditations and integrate it with the art surrounding us. Perhaps we will have an opportunity to tune into what emotions we perceive from the artist, as well as our own emotional response. I’m curious to find what added level of stillness we will experience between the thoughts.