Monday, August 1, 2011

Looking at Flowers and Breathing

Ah, the Peony. Now there's a flower I enjoy breathing in!

This week's lesson in my online drawing and watercolor course is all about looking at flowers (and drawing them, too!)

I looked at flowers intently for 15 months while creating my series The Age of Flowers.

For the epigraph of The Age of Flowers book based on this series, I quote Aldous Huxley from The Doors to Perception,
"I continued to look at the flowers, and in their living light I seemed to detect the qualitative equivalent of breathing — but of a breathing without returns to a starting point..."
The practice of drawing and watercolor is a way of meditation. So is looking at flowers.

In the early 1990's, I went through Shambhala Training in Boston and Vermont. Based on Tibetan Buddhism, this training is a secular approach to meditation and a way of operating in the world with basic goodness and other noble qualities. Much of the training is about being real and aware.

I bring this up because, in my current, slightly overtaxed state, I've noticed myself going back to my breath. A lot. In Shambhala Meditation, when we find ourselves thinking, we notice the thought and go back to our breath.

Conscious breathing, drawing and watercolor are simple tools to help bring us back to the present moment which is all there really is.

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