What is Artful Contemplation?

Revitalize the power of your imagination

Artful Contemplation is an integrated mindfulness approach that combines the outward-bound exploration of curiosity with the inward-bound focus of contemplation. It was originated by two South African artists who recognize the pivotal role of the imagination in expanding our awareness, empathy and meaning-making sense. Artful Contemplation is the culmination of 45 shared years of intense exploration into shamanism, Zen Buddhism, embodiment, improvisation, live performance, meditation and artistic expression.  

Actress Goldie Hawn, founder of the Hawn Foundation and MindUp, acknowledges that mindfulness is key to our fulfillment and sense of flourishing in the world. She affirms that “imagination is pivotal to this journey”. 

Without the capacity for imagination, we would not be able to visualise, we would not be able empathise, we would not be able to reflect on ourselves.

Goldie Hawn, 2017

When mindfulness is appreciated as an intentional practice embedded in every waking moment, then it can extend to include daydreaming, mind-wandering or thoughtful musing. Artful Contemplation is less about controlling the mind and inhibiting thoughts, and more about understanding the multi-dimensional and personal nature of each individual’s sense-making capacity. It is a personalized mindfulness tool designed to revitalize your imaginative capacity, nurture your unique symbolic language and reveal the interconnections within your daily choices. 

As a profoundly private practice, Artful Contemplation invites you to become increasingly aware of the ways in which you receive, select and process information and come to make sense of reality. This awareness is critical for anyone living in a contemporary environment saturated with disparate and often contradictory narratives. It is significantly more important if you have artistic sensibilities and depend on the full range of your sensory organs to make clear, authentic, creative choices in their daily work and play. The senses engaged by Artful Contemplation include both the ordinary – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste – and what have been termed the extra-sensory or non-ordinary – intuition, insight, feeling, perception, resonance and memory.

…during the process of bringing something original and meaningful into this world there are times when you want to think divergently and generate lots of possibilities [and] times when you want to focus more intensely on a single idea and help it grow and develop.

Scott Barry Kaufman, 2016

Reclaim your creative sovereignty

As a contemporary term for an ancient understanding, mindfulness refers to our daily need to practice adaptability with an ever-changing environment, and ongoing integration of diversifying and expanding personal capacities. 

This need increases in proportion to the speed, intensity and complexity of your life. If you live in a populated area, engage in public events, are active on social media platforms, read, watch or listen to multiple forms of media, then you are most likely consuming more information than you can easily digest. This information will be generic, contradictory and competitive – in other words, not always relevant to your individual needs. If you have been formally schooled or educated, then a large part of how you judge value in the world has been entrained towards causal relationships, measurement, effort and reward, limited time and non-negotiable deadlines, achievement and analysis. 

True artistry is personal and particular. It requires access to channels of direct experience, the space and time to flourish on its own terms, and to formulate a symbolic language that is unique and original. Artful Contemplation invites you to dwell in and appreciate the present moment from a place of creative sovereignty.

Mindfulness involves the ability to anchor one’s attention on what is occurring…and the ability to intentionally switch attention from one aspect of experience to another.

Frontiers in Psychology

How does Artful Contemplation work?

Artful Contemplation provides the opportunity to harness your full imaginative capacity by integrating dual processes – open-monitoring meditation and focused-attention meditation. Opportunities to slow down and settle in are provided, as well as catalysts for curious play and expansive thought. 

Our exposure to technological innovations and diverse forms of sacred art gives artists at the dawn of the twenty-first century a unique opportunity to create more integrative and universal spiritual art than ever before.

VISIONARY ARTIST, ALEX GREY

Artful Contemplation is designed to integrate with the rhythms and requirements of a contemporary lifestyle. It offers a practice of embodied awareness through the technologies and digital devices  that have become integral and indispensable to our daily activities. In this, it functions like a Sadhana.

Sadhanas are practices that help us to live more mindfully by integrating our spiritual life and our “normal every day experiences” thus creating a lifestyle filled with meaning, connection and well-being.

SACRED ARTS RESEARCH

You may already be practiced in sitting meditation. And you may enjoy viewing or creating art. Artful Contemplation brings these contemplative practices together in a powerful mindfulness experience that extends beyond language and concept.

By using a single, original, non-representational artwork as a point of reference, Artful Contemplation invites a  highly personal, intuitive response. All of the artworks currently being put to use for Artful Contemplation are originated by metascape artist, Lanon Prigge. 

The metascapes speak in codes of colored light and patterns of energetic vibration. Meta-, derived from the Greek meta– μετά-, means ‘after’ or ‘beyond’ and refers to the non-ordinary nature of these artworks. They reflect the fundamental, elemental, fractal patterns of organization underlying visible reality.

Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems.

Fractal Foundation

The already powerful metascapes are combined with mindfully selected verbal statements to serve as a mantra. The mantra invites curiosity, leading you into an expansive state of awe and wonder. It simultaneously encourages contemplation, leading you to minimize incessant and unrelated thoughts and feelings. With time, the processes of wondering and wandering, continuously brought to attention on a fixed focal point, allow arising thoughts and feelings to cohere. This is a potent tool for minimizing the relentless background chatter of the mind and integrating an overtaxed nervous system.

This intentional dialogue between what you pay attention to and how you feel in the moment is what offers personal healing and illumination.

As a daily mindfulness practice, Artful Contemplation enhances:

  • Non-judgmental perception.

  • Intuitive responses.

  • Personal insights.

  • Non-linear knowing.

  • Stillness and serenity.

So where do I start?

Artful Contemplation is ‘mindfulness at work’. As such it can be practiced at any time and in the midst of your busy-ness. It makes use of the accessibility afforded by digital devices to create a daily sanctuary close at hand, an easily accessible restore point.

There are several ways to get started with the practice of Artful Contemplation. 

1. Search a theme

Search and view over 100 Artful Contemplations in our current archive which is freely available to all visitors and followers of Artful Contemplation.

There is an existing archive of over 100 mindfulness prompts freely available to all visitors and subscribers of Artful Contemplation. Type in a search term such as direct experienceintuition or improvisation and a selection of mindfulness prompts will be displayed. Choose one and you have the opportunity to practice curiosity and contemplation. 

2. Join our community

Subscribe to join the Artful Contemplation community and receive one e-mantra weekly. You also gain access to the Artful Contemplation Facebook group where discussions and resources on mindfulness are made readily available.

When you sign up as an Artful Contemplation supporter, you will be invited to join the Artful Contemplation Facebook group where daily mindfulness prompts are readily available. Signing up to the community also gives you access to further benefits, including discounts on Artful Contemplation collectibles, and updates on Artful Contemplation events and resources.    

 

3. Commission a Lightcatcher

Commission a unique, original personalized artwork from metascape artist Lanon Prigge to serve as a talisman or mantra for daily contemplation and illumination.

Commission a one-of-a-kind personalized metascape painting to serve as your unique Lightcatcher for daily contemplation and illumination.