Friday, June 15, 2012

Music, meditation, creation

Contemplative neuroscience -- it makes sense that such a discipline, which includes the study of brain function in people such as Buddhist monks and others who are known as world class meditators, would exist. It is a recent branch of the study of how the brain works, though, which I learned while listening to Krista Tippett interview scientist Richard Davidson for the program On Being..

As they were talking about the brains of monks, and of teaching children how and when to use meditative techniques, and noting that, as Davidson remarked, the word mediation is like the word sport in that it covers a lot of approaches and techniques, I was thinking about how meditation plays out in the practice of being an artist.
bodhran copyright kerry dexter
Creating a piece of music, interpreting another’s composition, writing a story, deciding how to play a character, making a photograph, or a painting, or a bowl or a quilt - -- acts of creation such as these are also meditation, I think. They are places where the contemplative and active strands of meditation twine into each other. Artists of all sorts often have practices of mediation as part of their daily lives, and as part of specific preparation, reflection, and thanksgiving before and after making something, as well.

Then there’s the whole communicative aspect of this creative meditation, as well: the effect the art has on the listener, viewer, and reader.

Music, meditation, creation, reflection -- all part of the well of creative practice.

Music to go along with these ideas

winter meditation: aine minogue
India to Indiana in song and image
Hanneke Cassel: For Reasons Unseen

and a thought about architecture as meditation
on Renfrew Street in Glasgow

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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