What are you thinking?

What are you thinking when you paint?

Have you ever paid attention to what you are thinking while you paint, or when you are alone?

I was painting the other day and all of a sudden the music I was listening to stopped. Out of sheer laziness I didn’t bother to restart it and instead continued to paint in silence (which is really nice too, sometimes). About half an hour later I suddenly became very aware of my thoughts. I was thinking about something so random, and not necessarily productive or positive. And when I looked at the painting, this certainly reflected in the outcome too!

How positive are my thoughts?
I recently heard that experts estimate that the average mind thinks between 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2100 – 3,300 thoughts per hour running through our mind! Now even if there’s some debate on whether those numbers are exactly accurate, the question we should be asking is: what kind of thoughts am I allowing in myself?

“We are what we think” is something Swami Kriyananda emphasized in his suggestion on practicing affirmations to reprogram our thought patterns.

“Affirm that this can be done! If you have a strong enough affirmation, your very words will have an effect on your own nervous system, on others and in a subtle way on outward circumstances.” – Swami Kriyananda

Now, this usually is very hard to do unless we have a positive flow of inner energy within us. That’s why meditation, yoga or just sitting with a straight spine changes our mood and outlook towards a situation. Or just going for a walk can help shift your energy completely. And art can do this too! Because it can create a positive flow of energy within us, especially when the entire experience (the music we listen to or the bright colors we use for example) is uplifting!

Art can help us pay attention to our thoughts
Even when we are completely absorbed in something we love, thoughts of judgement or negativity about someone, or a situation that bothered you can creep in. And that’s perfectly normal, except imagine if that’s where we are at most of the time. It kind of festers in us, and in turn, creates our reality! We need to know where we are at, and art is a brilliant way to find out.

I share this as something most of us need to come back to again and again. So let’s watch our thoughts, pay very close attention. Even better is the practice of Japa and to mentally chant to keep our mind and heart engaged in the divine. Try consciously repeating a positive affirmation this month while painting and see what that brings to your art! 🙂

I leave you with this lovely 7 min video you might enjoy:

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