One of the things I love about teaching is that it pushes me to articulate understandings I may not know I've come to. In offering a Dharma talk & discussion at Red Clay Sangha, I found myself talking about the kind of code-shifting I've done as an artist in meditation circles, and as as a meditator in art circles. Artists know how to fine-tune their listening, taking the risks necessary to bring an idea to full, specific fruition, but they may not know a lot about letting go into the ground of being. Meditators know how to cultivate their relationship with the ground of being, and how to watch phenomena arise and cease in a non-reactive way; but they may not know a lot about trusting instinct in finding form.
The Inner Beauty Project says to artists You are safe, supported, and connected. You can let go. Your ideas & obsessions don't ALL have to come into form. It says to meditators You are safe, supported, and connected. Your project mind might have some ideas worth attending to. You are allowed to come out and play. As it turns out, many of the members of Red Clay Sangha (and the mini-retreat attendees) are artist-meditators themselves, so this discussion proved really fertile.
I enjoyed teaching Inner Beauty Treatments in a meditation retreat format - everyone doing a single activity side-by-side for a set period - and seeing how supportive that structure could be for myself and others. More of that soon, I hope.
Photos by Richard Skoonberg. Thank you, Richard & Sarah, for everything.
Julie Püttgen is an artist, expressive arts therapist, and meditation teacher.