What is Artful Contemplation?

Reclaim the power of your imagination

Artful Contemplation is an integrated mindfulness approach that her combines curious engagement and focused contemplation. It was conceived and created by two South African artists who understand the pivotal role that the imagination plays in expanding awareness and empathy. It is the culmination of their 45 shared years of intense exploration into shamanism, Zen Buddhism, embodiment, improvisation, live performance, meditation and multi-modal artistic expression.  

Artful Contemplation brings together the complementary practices of curiosity and contemplation in a powerful mindfulness experience.

When mindfulness is understood as an intention embedded in every waking moment, then it need not exclude daydreaming, mind-wandering, physical effort or thoughtful musing. Artful Contemplation recognizes that mindfulness is less about controlling the mind and more about understanding the multi-dimensional nature of our sense-making capacity. It is a powerful mindfulness tool designed to assist with reclaiming and regulating your imaginative capacity.

As a daily practice, Artful Contemplation invites you to become aware of the different ways in which you process information and come to make sense of your reality. This is critical awareness for anyone in a fast-paced contemporary world saturated with diverse narratives. It is even more important for those with artistic sensibilities who depend on the full range of their sensory organs to make clear, authentic, creative choices in their daily work and play. The senses engaged by Artful Contemplation include both the ordinary and the extra-sensory – intuition, insight, taste, smell, touch, feeling, sight, sound, resonance, 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

As the founder of the Hawn Foundation and MindUp, actress Goldie Hawn acknowledges that mindfulness is key to our fulfillment and sense of flourishing in the world. Most significantly, 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

Reclaim your creative sovereignty

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

This need for multi-modal awareness, integration and resilience increases in proportion to the speed, intensity and sociability of our contemporary lives. If you live in a city, engage in public events, are active on social media platforms, read, watch or listen to any form of media, then you have most likely consumed more information than you are able to digest. And much of this information is generic, contradictory and competitive. If you have been schooled or educated, then a large part of your thought processing has been entrained towards measurement, reward, deadlines, achievement and opinion. 

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

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.

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

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

Over a period of several months in 2019, more than 100 mantras were posted daily on this website. These have become our current archive and are freely available to all visitors and first-level subscribers of Artful Contemplation. You can type in a search term such as direct experienceintuition or improvisation and a selection of mindfulness prompts will be displayed. You do not need to pay to benefit from these resources.

2. Sign up

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 receive one e-mantra a week sent directly to your inbox. You will also be invited to join the Artful Contemplation Facebook group where open discussions and resources are readily available. Signing up as an Artful Contemplation Ambassador gives you further benefits, including discounts on Artful Contemplation collectibles, including your first commissioned art talisman which can be used for extended daily practice.    

3. Commission

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 personalized metascape painting to serve as your unique and one-of-a-kind talisman for daily Artful Contemplation practice.