Opening What Is Closed: Creative Process & Dharma Practice
Time: Sundays from 9:30am to 11:15 am California time, 5:30pm to 7:15pm UK Time
Dates: Five meetings, September 3 – October 1, 2023
Cost: Offered on a dana/donation basis
Sign Up: Please use this google form.
For those who took this course in the Spring: Any past participants may join the Process Sessions offered with this course on a drop-in basis. If there is room, it may be possible to join the main sessions as well. Please indicate how you’d like to participate on the sign-up form.
This premise of this series of five meetings is to serve as a basis for inquiring into our relationship to our creative work and the experience of art-making. What do we seek from creative endeavor? What feels to be missing for us, or where do we feel blocked? What ways can we explore (through both meditation, reflection and art making) that may shine a light on hidden obstacles, or doors that are closed by limiting beliefs about our creative work?
As well, the sessions will explore the interplay between dharma practice/meditation and the creative process. How might one endeavor serve to open possibility within the other? How might we hold creative activity as a spiritual practice or mystical endeavor in ways that open possiblities?
The focus of these sessions is primarily on exploring one’s relationship to art making together– we will not create a project within the course or learn a particular method of art making. Instead, the intention is to find our own way to better care for our relationship to the creative process. There will be some possibilities offered for exploring through art making outside of the sessions; for these you can work in the medium you choose (writing, drawing, movement, musical expression – whatever!). Meditation practice suggestions as well as journaling/reflective prompts may also be given.
I’ve noticed in my time sharing meditation that there are some particular, lovely intersections that exist for meditators with a meaningful connection to creative expression – so these meetings will be a chance to connect with others sharing these strands of practice. If you don’t see yourself as an “artist”, but are drawn to create in some way, please do join if these areas of exploration seem of alive for you – questioning limiting labels about ourselves in relationship to creativity will be part of all of this. If you do consider yourself an artist, these explorations may serve as a container in which to explore creativity outside of the demands of “producing” anything.
Some topics of exploration:
- What demands do I make of my creative work?
- Exploring the relationship between self-definition and what we create.
- What areas of expression are unacceptable/taboo for me?
- Making friends with groundlessness/the unknown (in both art making and meditation practice).
- Considerations around sharing our work with others.
- Surrendering control & exploring art making as a mystical endeavor.
Each session will have teaching elements, guided meditations, reflective exercises and group discussion time. There will be suggestions for exploring our creative process outside of the meetings.
Process Sessions: Twice a week, at various times, there will be “lab time” within which we can individually create while being supported by a group of others with shared intentions. So working “alone” but together – similar to meditating with others in that it supports our intentions for practice. Many in the Spring offering of this course found these sessions extremely supportive. While they are not required, it is strongly recommended you join at least once. These sessions will be 60 min. and offered at a range of times throughout the course.
About Me: Susy has practiced Buddhist meditation since 2001, and began practicing insight meditation five years later. In 2015 she began studying and training with Rob Burbea, and completed her teacher-training with him in 2020. She teaches meditation in Los Angeles, California, and is an artist and a parent.
Some particular biographical details related to this offering: I consider my first spiritual root to be art-making, and painted throughout my teens and early twenties. I studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Film Directing at UCLA. The one thing I did not learn at school (or maybe more accurate to say, I learned to forget) was how to keep my creative process alive and vibrant and fascinating. In time, through years of meditation practice and spiritually-oriented art making practice, I found my way to keeping those doors open – at times working as an artist and at times making art for no good reason at all…