To artist or non-artist, the creative process often seems mysterious and magical. How do we give a physical reality to our inspiration so it communicates its essential nature? Shambhala Art’s purpose is to explore the creative process and the product we call art, from the viewpoint of a meditative discipline. It is a viewpoint that encourages us to see things as they are, rather than just how we think or imagine they are. Shambhala Art does not teach a particular skill or technique such as painting, sculpture, or dance. It is about the source of inspiration, its manifestation, and how it speaks to us beyond the limits of its container. Once a view and a path are established it can be put into practice within any artistic discipline. Although the Shambhala Art teachings are inspired by Shambhala Buddhism, they are not in any way religious or about adopting a religion. They are about discovery and play, and the universal nature of creativity and communication.
Without seeing things as they are, it is hard to create art. Our perceptions are obscured and our mind is not fresh, so making art becomes a troubled, futile process by which we’re trying to create something based on concept. – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Shambhala Art can be seen as a process, a product, and an arts education program. As a process, it brings wakefulness and awareness to the creative and viewing processes through the integration of contemplation and meditation. As a product, it is art that wakes people up. Shambhala Art is also an international non-profit arts education program based on the Dharma Art teachings of the late Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, the founder of Shambhala Buddhism, Shambhala International, and Naropa Institute.
Part One: Coming to Your Senses
The practice of dharma art is a way to use our lives to communicate without confusion the primordial and magical nature of what we see, hear, and touch. – Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
First thought is best in art. — Wm. Blake.
The creative process has more to do with perception than talent. The creative process requires that we first perceive our world as it is before we can represent it in some form or use it as a launching pad for expression. Meditation helps this process by clarifying our perceptions, relaxing our relentless self-dialoguing, and revealing the source of creativity. We also learn through meditation that we can rest in “square one,” a state of mindfulness and awareness where our mind, body, and environment are synchronized and self-expression can transform into pure-expression.
Part Two: Seeing Things As They Are
The map is not the territory. — Alfred Korzbyski
The truth of the thing is not the think of it but the feel of it. – Stanley Kubrick
One eye sees, the other feels. – Paul Klee
Symbol, in this sense, is not a “sign” representing some philosophical or religious principle;it is the demonstration of the living qualities of what is. – Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
Through meditation we come to see things as they are as opposed to how we think or imagine they are. We discover that everything has a felt presence to it as well as a thought sense that we bring to it. What we create and perceive communicates through signs and symbols. Signs communicate primarily information and the thought sense of things. Symbols on the other hand are primarily about non-conceptual direct experience, the presence and the felt sense of things. Seeing the difference between signs and symbols, thought sense and felt sense, as well as how they work together empowers our creative and viewing processes.
Public Talk: Tune in to Your Senses
On Friday, March 22 at 7pm, Miriam Hall will be giving an introductory talk
. Eveyone welcome. Cost: $10
Miriam Hall teaches of Shambhala Art, Nalanda Miksang Contemplative Photography, and Contemplative Writing. She makes her living teaching these practices, both in Madison, WI where she lives, and all over North America and Europe. She is a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Natalie Goldberg. Please find more about her and the things she teaches online at www.herspiral.com, www.miksang.org, and www.shambhalaart.org.
Note: If you cannot afford to pay the full program fee, see our generosity policy. This schedule, like life, is subject to change.
Please register for this program in advance by clicking on the "Click here to register" link below. After filling out the online registration form, you will have the option of paying online through PayPal using your credit card or PayPal account. If you prefer not to pay online, you can pay by cash or cheque at the beginning of the program.