Looking within and connecting with yourself leads to self reflection. It gives you space to be with yourself and brings you closer to your innermost needs and feelings.
However, like the first article in the series mentioned, our present day lifestyles are far from conducive for self reflection and quiet time. You rarely have the time to pause and freely introspect, just for yourself. When you go without such reflection for long, you could lose touch with your inner growing self. You remain conscious of only certain beliefs and thoughts, while a lot more lies within.
From dwelling on a quote to watching a movie to meditation, many things that are part of your life could make you snap out of your ‘autopilot’ mode. They make you pause. Sometimes, you even have little ‘aha’ moments where you realize how you are truly feeling.
Have you ever considered that a painting could be a catalyst of looking within? Sounds somewhat vague?
Paintings, especially paintings of people, are not just beautiful pieces of art, they can also be artistic ‘mirrors’. Usually, when you look at a painting, you dwell on the art – the figures, their expressions, the colors, how they blend and change. Have you ever stopped to gaze at a painting, while remaining aware of what it brings up in you? How it makes you feel? What thoughts, memories or emotions come up within you while you look at it?
Chances are you haven’t. This Mental Health Week, try this method of self reflection.
To give you an idea of what I mean, I have shared a painting along with what it brought up within me:-
The art depicted in this work of MC Escher invokes the most interesting thoughts within me. To me, it highlights how in the larger scheme of things, it is all perspective.. most importantly, our own perspective. I’m referring to how we can see Escher and in the background, his study, but only through the reflective ball, only through the perspective it gives. It also sends me on a thinking trip of how when we stand before a mirror, we are in a unique position to see us, to be aware of us, to be conscious of us. Then how there are times we forget about this awareness of our own self –until we are confronted by the mirror, or such reflective vehicles in our day to day life, like a video recording of us, a feedback or sometimes a comment by family, friends.. or even performance reviews at work.
What did MC Escher’s artwork bring up in you? Maybe you could scroll up, pause at the painting, relax for a few moments and see..
Some More Paintings, Some more Artistic Mirrors
Hopefully for all art lovers, this will be a mindful treat. Here is a miniscule museum experience; some images of intricate paintings, made by famous artists, to act as what Escher’s reflective globe did: a mirror to help you in viewing your current self. Take your time and gaze at these paintings. Some may appeal to you, ‘talk’ to you when you just blankly and idly stare at them. Look at each one of them, allow yourself the space to be, and observe reactions that come up. You needn’t come up with any logical, analytical explanation, simply flow with whatever comes up. A connection can emerge most naturally with your feelings and things from your lives .
Different paintings will mean different things to you. You may not pause beyond a glance for some paintings and some might keep you riveted. It’s interesting to see what you relate to, what you like, what you out rightly dislike and all such reactions and feelings that come up.
How was your experience? What feelings did you get in touch with?
Some of you might wonder why a painting evokes emotions. When you are relaxed, and are simply spending time with the painting, your analytical, logical, 24 x 7 active mind also relaxes. Because you are looking at something seemingly unrelated to your life, your guard is down. You are simply allowing yourself to feel all the reactions that come up. In such a safe space, small neglected or suppressed aspects within you come out into awareness.
I hope this journey was as fun and enriching for you, as for me. Maybe you can visit an online museum or even better-a real physical museum today. Or you can take a look at your own or other art pieces. Let your feelings, memories and needs, pleasant or unpleasant, play themselves out within the boundary of time spent with each painting 🙂
Do share your experiences with us through your comments
Post contributed by: Kunjal Shah