Mindful Mandala

Daring Dahlia: From The Flower Mandala Project

 If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Buddha

The Artful Blog recently posted new images throughout the Art Practice Site, some of which are part of a new ‘Flower Mandala Project’ in bloom. The beginning of a five season project encompassing: Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring. The goal of the project, being Jungian in nature, is to resonate aesthetically and as a meditation tool, to be both mystical and mindful. Based on an archetypal depth psychology premise Carl Jung illuminated: exploring the mandala as psychological expression of the human psyche and totality of the self. #artfulagenda #seedcenteroftheself

Follow The Artful Blog on Facebook for future updates and insight into the project and other things of interest related to both the site and blog & more.

Sacred Feminine

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This Mother’s Day, let’s contemplate the force beyond mom, the power of the feminine that gives life and that is life -that needs to be approached with respect and even awe. The Sacred Feminine. The Divine Mother in all of us. There is Divinity within each of us, and within the forces that move through and around us. We are all sparks of the Divine. As with all living things, there is a feminine and masculine element to this Divinity. Mother’s Day was originally viewed as a sacred holiday honoring the Divine Feminine Principle. We can choose to restore the more sacred aspect of Mother’s Day by honoring the Divine Feminine that exists in all of us. The place to begin, as always, is within yourself. Mother’s Day is truly for everyone.

Inquire Within

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” ~Buddha 

Meditation

March Mindfulness. Meditation has been used for hundreds of years by individuals seeking inner peace, enlightenment and a break from the everyday stressors of life. The practice is thought to benefit the mind, body and spirit in a multitude of ways. Here are ten significant positive effects of meditation to encourage you to ‘Commit To Sit’ and ‘Take a Deep Breath and Reflect’.

  1. When we meditate, we become more aware of, and more capable of controlling, our thoughts. A key part of meditation revolves around noticing our thoughts without judging them or getting caught up in their stories or meanings. This helps us to develop a different perspective on our internal dialogue, develop a greater understanding of ourselves, and practice noticing our thoughts and feelings without attaching meaning or judgement to them.
  2. Practicing the mind-body exercise on a regular basis may help strengthen an individual’s immune system by stimulating blood flow, inducing relaxation and helping the body eliminate free radicals, which are known to cause cellular damage.
  3. Meditation has been shown in multiple studies to reduce a person’s response to pain. This may be especially beneficial for individuals with chronic conditions in which regular discomfort is experienced.
  4. Individuals who meditate on a regular basis find that they have improved self-esteem and a more positive outlook on life. This may be due to a number of physiological factors, such as increased serotonin levels, as well as a clearer sense of one’s self stemming from introspection.
  5. People with fears or phobias may be helped by meditation, since the mind-body practice is thought to help individuals resolve inner conflicts.
  6. Meditation can increase creativity, strengthen one’s ability to focus and improves memory. Grow your largest organ -the brain!
  7. People who meditate may also find themselves becoming more compassionate individuals, as introspection has strong potential to promote empathy.
  8. Meditation can help individuals deepen their spiritual connection with the transpersonal, or simply become more aware that they have a spiritual side. Today, many people unfortunately overlook this aspect of themselves.
  9. Meditation is essentially a practice in concentration. Once we learn to concentrate on our breath, notice when we get caught up in thoughts, and return our concentration to our breath, we can translate that skill into any number of settings we choose. A focus on the present is what meditation is all about. Living in the moment by pushing aside the worries of the past or future is known to help people achieve a more fulfilled existence.

Ten minutes a day is all it takes to achieve mindfulness. Watch this TED Talk by meditation expert Andy Puddicombe on how to meditate to achieve mindfulness. Andy wants everyone to learn the power of meditation, so he created a Headspace app with free guided meditations to help start a practice. Making meditation accessible to everybody, for a happier, healthier you.

Jewel Within The Lotus

Mantras are like little prayers. The lotus mantra is one of the most popular mantras in Tibet; it is known as the prayer of compassion. It is often said that the essence of all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this one mantra. There are so many layers of meaning in Sanskrit, as each syllable carries its own vibration, and the syllables together form new vibrations that evoke various additional meanings. Loosely translated, Om Mani Padme Hum means: “I bow to the jewel within the lotus.”

Lotus #108

Lisa Gayko Schaewe, Lotus #108 from 108 Lotuses: An Art Practice, Courtesy and © Lisa Gayko Schaewe.

This beautiful mantra can be chanted, spoken, or thought on its own, or with a mala to aid your practice and concentration. Repeating this mantra is believed to purify the mind and body and bring joy and peace to you, and those around you:

OM: The Dalai Lama says: “In chanting OM, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech and mind of a Buddha.” OM represents the oneness, the universal.

MANI: Mani means jewel, and it symbolizes compassion, love, and the altruistic goal of achieving enlightenment. Remembering this helps us to practice pure ethics, acceptance, and patience.

PADME: Padme means lotus, and it symbolizes wisdom. The lotus flower grows out of the mud, but is not soiled by the mud. It reminds us that we can live in this imperfect world and not be affected by it. This helps us to practice perseverance and concentration, remembering our goals, and our true nature.

HUM: Hum helps us to practice wisdom and make good choices. It means inseparability and it symbolizes purity. It reminds us that we can achieve the perfection we seek by combining wisdom and activity.

Dust Revisited invite

Lisa Gayko Schaewe, Dust: Revisited Exhibition Invite, Dust: Revisited -a series of paintings inspired by photographer David Maisel’s Library of Dust, is now on view at Naropa University Lincoln Gallery, Boulder, Colorado.

About

Lisa Gayko Schaewe’s view and process as an artist are deeply informed by her years as a Zen student and her training with John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009) at Zen Mountain Monastery. She engages in creative process as a form of meditation practice. For her, art making is a way to appreciate the potential held within the open space of not knowing and to directly experience the sacred, interconnected ground of being.

Lisa exhibits her work throughout the country, and is a licensed professional counselor and art psychotherapist, maintaining a private practice in Boulder, CO.  She is adjunct faculty at Naropa University and facilitates Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction groups and workshops combining contemplative practice and creative process. Visit Lotus Opening Studio & Lotus Opening Therapy.

Moon Magic

In dreams, the magic that weaves man and animal together glows with vibrancy; there the mysteries of the natural world are plain, the connectedness of life overpowers in a true state of being in balance with the earth. The traceries of energy that link us with the animals of forest, lake and sky are alive if we are quiet enough to see them. 

~ Beth Moon

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Beth Moon, Listening To The Sky, From Thy Kingdom Come series, Platinum Palladium Print, 22 x 26 in., 2007, © and Courtesy Beth Moon.

Photographer Beth Moon demonstrates a magical and intuitive appreciation for the ways in which time, memory and nature define our understanding of man’s place in the universe. She helps us see the natural world in new ways, giving us insight into how we might be able to survive, thrive, and live more beautifully now. Her subjects are ancient and legendary trees from remote locations and the hills and coast near her home in California, and soulful animal humankind interactions in the natural world. The spirit of rooted trees, plants, and animals are wedded with their native landscapes in imagery that is both delicate and deep, leaving an indelible impression on your memory.

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 Beth Moon, Way of the Hare, From Thy Kingdom Come series, Platinum Palladium Print, 20 x 26 in., 2007, © and Courtesy Beth Moon.

Her handmade photographic works of art are as much about how Moon coaxes metal, paper, light, and mood, as they are about the subjects she studies. She creates platinum palladium prints, considered to be the longest lasting photographic process, as an homage to the longevity and survival of her subjects. A platinum print can last for centuries, much like a strong, well-tended tree. Mixing the powdered metals Moon formulates a tincture, according to her own recipe, then hand-coats sheets of heavy watercolor paper before exposing them to light in a unique process which embeds the metals in the paper. Working the materials by hand, much the way a painter would, Moon has the freedom to pursue her creative vision in process.

“It is hard to find a subject more challenging to photograph than ancient trees. How do I express their power and beauty to those who have never seen them? How do I convey this power and beauty to those who have? I want to speak the language of the trees.” ~ Beth Moon

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Beth Moon, The Yews of Wakehurst, From Portraits of Time series, © and Courtesy Beth Moon.

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Beth Moon, Dragon Blood Tree in Diksom Forest, From Portraits of Time series, © and Courtesy Beth Moon.

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Beth Moon, General Sherman, From Portraits of Time series, © and Courtesy Beth Moon.

Trees are earth’s oldest living monuments. Some, more than 5,000 years old, having figured out how to adapt and withstand changing environmental and human impacts. The oldest are usually the largest. Now known as “champion” trees, their majesty comes through in Moon’s Portraits of Time series, where Moon has photographed ancient and legendary trees, expressing their language, spirit and beauty. She records the symbolic groves of the giant Sequoias in the morning mist, the Joshua trees in the hot desert sun, the majestic, sentinel-like Baobab trees, and the ancient Yew -all of which are intricate and elegant in their simplicity of form. As our earth becomes increasingly crowded these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance reminding us, through their grandeur and age as they stand as the earth’s largest, living monuments, how essential they are to our psychology and how precious they are to the soul of the world .

Moon gains inspiration for her series “Portraits of Time”, from David Milarch and the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive’s efforts to save our planet by planting ancient forests, using clones of the ancient champion trees, as portrayed in The Man Who Planted Trees, by Jim Robbins. Portraits of Time is one of five series that can be seen in Moon’s beautiful new monograph Between Earth and Sky.

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Between Earth and Sky, by Steven Brown (Author), Brooks Jensen (Author), Beth Moon (Artist), Hardcover, 96 pgs. 

Numinous and magical, the black-and-white photographs of Beth Moon celebrate nature and our relationship to it as a primary elemental experience. Moon is one of a handful of American photographers using nineteenth-century printing processes, which greatly amplify the spirit of enchantment that permeates her work. Between Earth and Sky presents five major series of works produced since 1999: Portraits of Time, which portrays ancient and legendary trees from around the world; Thy Kingdom Come, which explores animistic and totemic beliefs connecting humankind and the animal kingdom; Odin’s Cove, the story of a pair of mated ravens living in the wild; The Savage Garden, which looks at the compelling, sinister beauty of carnivorous plants; and Augurs and Soothsayers, a series of portrait-style photographs of exotic chickens. This volume is Moon’s first monograph. Raised in Wisconsin, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Crazy Wisdom

Being in his presence was like being suddenly aware of an oncoming truck: it put every cell in your brain SMACK! into the present moment. And in that moment you could be outraged, moved to tears or intellectually inspired… or all at once. ~Filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas

Trungpa

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Chögyam Trungpa fled the invasion of Tibet, studied at Oxford, and shattered Westerners’ notions of how an enlightened teacher should behave, and became a pivotal figure in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Allen Ginsberg made him his guru. Joni Mitchell wrote a song about him. It was 1970 and he was the first Tibetan lama most Americans had ever seen. Yet he openly drank, and carried on intimate relationships with his students. Was this how an enlightened teacher should behave? Crazy Wisdom, the long-awaited feature documentary to explore the life, teachings, and ‘crazy wisdom’ of Chögyam Trungpa recently premiered Nationally, with exclusive never-before-seen archival material and commentary from his inner circle. Called a genius, rascal, and social visionary; ‘one of the greatest spiritual teachers of the 20th century,’ and ‘the bad boy of Buddhism,’ Trungpa defied categorization.

Official trailer for the documentary “Crazy Wisdom” by filmmaker Johanna Demetrakas, 2011.

Director Johanna Demetrakas uses archival footage, animation, interviews, and original imagery to build a film that mirrors Trungpa’s challenging energy and invites viewers to go beyond fixed ideas about our teachers and leaders. The material Demetrakas works with most skillfully is Rinpoche’s transformation from a young monk to a realized master who looked like an ordinary guy from the seventies (a cigarette-smoking, saki-drinking, multiple-lady-loving man in jeans and a tie-dyed T-shirt), and then from a seemingly somewhat ordinary seventies guy to an eighties man who wore elaborate military uniforms and often seemed drunk -and, to an outside observer, perhaps a little nuts. This is the real heart of the film, where several of Trungpa Rinpoche’s family, friends, lovers, and close students -including Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Pema Chödrön, Ram Dass, and Rinpoche’s wife, Diana Mukpo -are interviewed and talk about their firsthand experiences of Rinpoche. Crazy Wisdom looks at the man and the myths about him, and attempts to set the record straight.

These interviews, illustrated with old photographs and film footage and voiceovers of Rinpoche speaking, are not only biographical; each interview is a teaching in itself -a pith instruction passed from Trungpa Rinpoche to his student and now to us. Though we won’t become enlightened listening to these funny, scary, and mind-stopping instructional tales, we will definitely know where to begin -with meditation and a necessary awareness of our own basic goodness and self-delusion. For more information about the film and screening dates visit: CrazyWisdomTheMovie.com

About

The ancient teachings and practical instructions that Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche brought with him found an eager audience in the America of the 1970s, a decade during which he traveled nearly constantly throughout North America, published six books, and established three meditation centers and a contemplative university (Naropa University). Trungpa became renowned for translating ancient Buddhist concepts into language and ideas that Westerners could understand. Humor was always a part of his teaching – “Enlightenment is better than Disneyland,” he quipped, and he warned of the dangers of the “Western spiritual supermarket.”

Naropa

Founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974, Naropa University is the first of its kind as a Buddhist-inspired university in North America that integrates ancient traditions of wisdom into the curriculum of modern education. Since its inception, Naropa has been dedicated to contemplative education in which awareness of thought processes, sense perceptions and emotions are integrated into the study of specific disciplines.