throughout this year, i have been trying out new ways of working as an artist, taking new classes, exploring areas that i have avoided or been fearful of in the past. during this time a central practice that i have come back to, again and again is meditation.
meditation is very simple, and an ancient technique. a breathing meditation involves sitting, as upright as you can in a way that is also comfortable, and paying attention to your breath as it flows in and flows out.
as you do so, the idea isn’t to get rid of thoughts, or to stop thinking, and it isn’t even to relax. the aim is very simple- you simply pay attention, non-judgmentally, to the breath, and, as best you can, let all other aspects of your experience (thoughts, body sensations, emotions) pass through, almost like trains passing through a station.
this kind of meditation can teach us that change is constant and inevitable. everything changes, nothing is stable. each breath is different, and it comes and goes. we cannot hold onto it.
these insights have been incredibly valuable, as essentially the past year has been about challenging long-held assumptions about my artistic practice, but also about my identity, who i am, my place in the world, my future. meditation has been an incredibly valuable tool both to help realise the inevitability of change, and also to help me become comfortable with change, to allow myself to shift and question who i am and where i’m going.
as i’m writing this i realise that perhaps these are fundamental questions that underlie a meaningful artistic practice: who am i and where am i going? which speaks to a broader question: who are we and where are we going?
these questions seem almost too abstract or obvious to be useful, but they are also necessary and urgent, even more so at this particular social and political time of intense and threatening change.