Looking at art is a spiritual practice.
The age-old and intimate engagement of Zen Buddhism with the arts invites us specifically to envision ‘contemplating art’ as a Zen practice par excellence.
Just like Zen, art appreciation engenders an awareness in which the hard separation between subject and object softens. We outgrow a dualistic “illustration reading”.
True seeing implies an opening up to ‘groundlessness’. As a meditation, we are empowered to disidentify with preconceived ideas, habitual judgments or inherited standards.
In contemplating art we also trust our innate ability to resonate with truthfulness. We refrain for instance from hiding behind art historical knowledge or behind a supposed lack thereof.
As in Zen spirituality, seeing art calls us to reappraise language as a tool to own and integrate our inner experience.
Ultimately, art contemplation opens us up to a total body-mind experience. As we engage with all our senses and physicality, we remember our embodied relation to lived space. As in Zen.
SEEING THROUGH ZEN – Richmond, London November 24-25th
A workshop in contemplative art appreciation with Frank De Waele Roshi
In this inspirational workshop, we explore together the differences between looking, observing and seeing. Through instructions and exercises, we will train a new, non-dual way of perceiving. We will then go to the Tate Modern for an interactive visit and apply the ‘devotional seeing’ we’ve learned.
Please email to register. Cost £25 for the Sunday
illustration: Henri Matisse, The Snail, collage, 1953, Tate Modern