You may have experienced this: you are reading a spiritual book, or talking with a person who has a lot of wisdom. You think, “I’ve heard this before, I know this, but somehow I understand it in a deeper way now.”

You knew it already on some level, but it hadn’t been made dynamic to your consciousness.

Art is one way to help Divine truths become more dynamic to our minds. This is something that Swami Kriyananda talked about during the Joyful Arts Festival last weekend.

Here is an example and experiment:

Think of Infinity. Think of what you know about it, and call to mind your experience of it.

Then look into this painting by Jyotish Novak, concentrating on it for a few moments, or for as long as you like.

Oil on canvas: Yogananda and Kriyananda standing on the beach and gazing at the horizon line of the ocean

In which case was your experience of Infinity more “real” to you?

Gallery of Paintings

An oil painting on canvas: Yogananda's portrait, the last smile, overlayed on a sunset over the ocean This is one of Oliver Graf, a member of Ananda in Assisi. If I remember right, he has had no formal training in art.

Jyotish in the outdoor ampitheater, on stage with his painting displayed Here is Jyotish talking about his painting (above) on Friday morning’s panel (you can watch or listen to the talk online).

A cosmic swirl of reds, yellows, and blues, radiating out from a small circle in the center Dana Lynne Andersen is Ananda’s most well-known artist. She heads Awakening Arts, an organization dedicated to promoting art as spiritual upliftment.

Pink flower in circle This is a watercolor by Marilyn Holm. She had a wonderful artist’s statement, which I’ll quote here in part:

“Whenever I sit down to watercolor, I am immediately swept up in the process and am sometimes engaged for hours on end….

“The energy teaches me how to capture a detail. If I can get myself out of the way, the energy simply comes out of the end of the brush, grows on the paper, and becomes something beautiful.

“It is deeply joyful.”

Pastel: Playful yellows, oranges, and blues in defined abstract shapesThis is a pastel by Carianne Pollacek, Ananda Village resident and Mother.

Oil on canvas: One red flower opening up to the sunThis is a painting by Mantradevi LoCicero, one of the spiritual directors of Ananda LA. Her works are available at Sacred Ways handicrafts, an Ananda business.

A playful, almost childlike style of painting; a nature scene with the sun, a bird, a pond, flowers, and treesFinally we have a piece by Gyandevi Fuller, an Ananda Village resident who frequently travels to India.

The Meditation Experiment

There’s an experiment you can try with any piece of art.

Look at (or read, or listen to) an inspiring piece of artwork. Then meditate.

Afterwards, in the space of peace and stillness, look at it again, and see if you notice any difference.

Try this with one of the above paintings – it is fun!

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