Data For Meditation


Explore pages by looking, reading and clicking on hyperlinks

Or go to the list of pages


People may consider meditation as a worship or prayer. But it is not so. Meditation means awareness. Whatever you do with awareness is meditation. "Watching your breath" is meditation; listening to the birds is meditation as also are contemplating meaning after reading a text or looking at a work of art.  As long as these activities are free from any other utilitarian distraction to the mind, it is effective meditation.  The word meditation, is derived from two Latin words : meditari ( to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and mederi (to heal). Its Sanskrit derivation 'medha' means spiritual intelligence.  To apply this intelligence one does not have to be religious.  Many people who are religious do not have high spiritual intelligence.


Meditation is not a technique but a way of life. It may be manifest within membership of one of the major world faiths, or it may simply be that a person feels that there is more to life than merely acquiring material possessions and meeting the physical requirements of existence. In both situations meditation is a manifestation of spiritual intelligence.  It is not a cessation of the thought process'.  It describes a state of consciousness where the aim is to attain inner peace.  After all, to realise you have emptied your mind of distractions it has to be filled with an awareness of its being empty of these distractions.  Meditation encompasses a variety of practices that are somewhat different, all holding to the basic principles of consideration and quiet  thought to bring about a state of rumination. Some methods of meditation may require the body being absolutely still or to be moved with controlled deliberation, while other types allow for free movement of the body.  Methods may differ but the end goal of all types of meditation lead to a mind that is quieted from day to day chatter and free from stress by the use of quiet contemplation and reflection on the meaning of life and one's place in a greater scheme of things.  The Indian philosopher J Krishnamurti gives instructions on how to meditate in this way.


Art plays a great role in most religions. It often serves to educate and to bring the practitioner closer to a religious goal. In the latter sense a work of art often acts as a focus for meditation, which is a key element to practicing the religion through the use of specially made icons.  For instance, icons produced within the Russian Christian tradition are thought of as bringing Heaven and Earth together as perceived through the frame of a window, which always concentrates attention on what is present on the other side.  Meditating on a work of art takes someone out of the normal realm of thinking and feeling and calms, focuses and transforms that person into another awareness.


This website contains a personal selection of sculptured images and texts which are suitable for creating an awareness of the world as meditation.  It is a development of an educational programme based on the meditative qualities of the great tapestry of Christ in Majesty above the altar at Coventry Cathedral.  The tapestry was specially designed as an icon to encourage meditation and prayer within the context of the Christian religious system.  All religions have produced icons as symbols of faith .  Another important route to meditation is by contemplating memorials.  Memorials serve an important function in any society. They help us remember, teach important life lessons, and are evocative places to meditate and reflect.


On February 17 1922, a cross-section of Parisian artists gathered at the Closerie des Lilas cafe in Montparnasse in order to mount a defence of the Dada poet Tristan Zara.  This time it was not the establishment who were their target, but the poet Andre Breton, who had described Tzara as 'come from Zurich'', a phrase specifically interpreted as zenophobic.  This charge remained a sensitive subject.  The sculptor Constantin Brancusi , signing the resolution in Tzara's defence, pinpointed his position by adding: 'In art, there are no foreigners. Brancusi, along with Andre Derain were following the idea that the artists role was not to imitate the visible world but use a universal language to create a view of the world as meditation .

Andre Derain, Crouching figure, 1907

About 1908 Derain became interested in African sculpture and at the same time explored the work of Paul CÚzanne and early cubists. He became a friend of Pablo Picasso and worked with him in Catalonia in 1910.

We are just one of the many animal outcomes of evolution with lives governed by goal attainment and self-protection.  But in our behaviour towards other people and the environment we uniquely express goal attainment and self-protection through mind-mapping the universe to produce many things that are useful and a few that are useless but poetic. Engaging in the arts is a poetical process of meaning-making, applying spiritual intelligence to cultivate a relationship to mystery. The useless and poetic things humans make are meaningful because they address the mental realms of being that are not seen but felt on an emotional scale of sadness to elation. Also the process of art-making itself can be a path of discovery. Paolo Knill, one of the founders of expressive arts therapy says: "The practice of the arts, as disciplined rituals of play in painting, sculpting, acting, dancing, making music, writing, story-telling, is and always was a safe container, a secure vessel to meet existential themes, pathos and mystery."  Stephen K. Levine argues that poiesis, the creative act, is also the act by which we affirm our identity and humanity.
















This Web Page Created with PageBreeze Free HTML Editor