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Alchemica

Art for mental health, consciousness evolution, re-creating the Self and Spirituality

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I ditched the loop of putting something in to heal and instead embraced self-directed creativity as therapy. I never considered myself creative in any good way

 

 
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We buy, rather than make, most of the things we want and need. We surround ourselves with passive entertainments instead of inventing or discovering our own.
 
Subtly or overtly, we’re constantly sold on the notion that if we want to be happy, we must acquire and ingest more — more things, more information, more experiences, more external approval.
 
But that consumption-centric approach to life tends to harm our well-being. It leaves us vulnerable to runaway cravings, and it restricts our opportunities to express ourselves in more inventive, satisfying ways.
 
There’s an inverse correlation between consumption and creativity
 
...we create very little of what we consume, and we consume vastly more. Research suggests that this unprecedented imbalance is contributing to  physical, mental, and emotional dysfunction.  [1]

 

 

 

What would the world be like if we all spent more of our energy transmuting problems to creative, compassionate solutions? I'd like to hear of anyone who's done similar and what it helped you get through?

 

For me, I found if you invest the time and energy, even part of it, you spend on ruminating, analysing, judging, blaming, shaming, denying, complaining, consuming, absorbing, hurting, grieving, projecting etc etc into creating, exploring, playing, loving you end up re-friending your Self/Soul and others from a much better place. It lets you embrace positive potentiality even when you're hurting and learn to not project that negativity into other's worlds.

 

Once you make the choice to direct your energy, actions and time on the planet toward creation, expression, emotion, communication, connection...

Throughout history two conditions have exerted themselves: “awakening,” which reflects our highest truth, beauty, and innocence, and “insanity,” which reflects humanity’s taste for the negative, greed, and the subjugation of one people by another.


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Art is an easy instrument for spiritual awakening. We don’t need to go to extremes of transcendental meditation with fasting and whips.

Art is meditation through objects.

In the Temples of Humankind, everyone may have a go at art, experience the alchemy of it, with improvements within and beyond the self. [1]

 

Like this person, "I pulled out the paints and painted a picture.... I laughed at how bad it was and felt an untainted, simple pleasure. I didn’t feel any pressure to be good, or productive."

 

“It’s literally externalising an internal experience in a contained form, so then one can reflect on it with a degree of autonomy, that ‘I have control over this experience, to a degree’"

 

“It doesn’t matter if it’s artistic" “whether the dog looks like a dog, or a camel; the person who drew it knows it’s a dog. The meaning they derive from it — that’s what’s important.”

 

“It bridges your emotions. It does the talking for you.”

 

https://www.independent.ie/au/life/health-wellbeing/mental-health/drawing-strength-how-art-helped-me-beat-depression-37833222.htm

 

Soon enough I had an "unscrambling the egg" portfolio.

 

374824304_IMG_20190321_0833161.thumb.jpg.c1ab287f48c745c2fe6ef39e122d4457.jpg

 

Unfortunately modern, Western culture has largely emphasized the verbal and analytic

 

Art making was found to assist mental health through enhancing eight different elements of the self [1]:

•Emotional exploration and expression.
•Participation and learning.
•Enhancement of thought processes.
•Movement beyond an illness identity.
•New perspective and awakening.
•Spiritual growth.
•Political voice and social expression.
•Development of interpersonal relationships.

 

"We live in a time when our capacity for imagining is being thwarted by things that encourage us to tune out of life and become passive consumers rather than active imaginers. We have become paralyzed by our own busyness. We are lulled into passivity, and our creative capacity is dulled through a constant barrage of media images and frenzied life pace. In a culture that demands we hurry up and do, produce, move faster and higher up the ladder, become breathless, worship speed and efficiency, it can be a real challenge to find space.

 

Creativity is about honoring another kind of intelligence that originates from within us rather than from outside sources. By giving attention to the process of art-making we may begin to notice stirrings within ourselves – resistance, insight, joy, sadness — all of which are food for self-insight and spiritual growth. By engaging neglected dimensions of ourselves, we begin to bring a holistic approach to our spirituality and reclaim the inner intelligences

 

What could we discover from the spiritual dimension of our lives if we expanded our access to ways of knowing and used multiple entry points to experience and create meaning?" [2]

 

Studies have noted significant reduction in negative symptoms as well as an improvement in positive quality of life outcomes, such as a non-destructive way of expressing and communicating problematic feelings and life experiences.

 

[1] https://www.instituteforcreativehealth.org.au/sites/default/files/part2theroleofartmakinginrecovery.pdf

[2] https://www.spirituality.ucla.edu/docs/newsletters/3/Paintner_Jan07.pdf

 

 

What is recovery?

 

recovery.thumb.jpg.f52e16c2a4d0e6a56eaad031ad4b7453.jpg

 

To me, the essence of recovery is not about "fixing" or going back. It's about acceptance, progression, change and growth.

It's not a science but an art. Not a one-way process but a dance

It's about taking that lead that weighs you down and transmuting it. Taking lower processes and bringing them to new levels

Revitalising and liberating the stagnant Chi

Dancing your creative potentiality to the holistic heights of Soul

Becoming a wholer, healthier human and letting go of the things that hold you back

 

 In the past, I saw the brain, and life, extremely dualistically. You/me, normal/abnormal etc. The brain and life was a puddle of mechanistic, reducible 'stuff' and life was a science experiment. That's the way we're programmed unfortunately

 

These days I see that there is also Beautiful Whole Divinity in there too.

 

You are not your mind or that dualistic thinking but beautiful Whole Divinity no matter how broken you feel. Life is not something to be broken apart but built together

 

If you let that chaos in your mind unfold, out from it is born the Beautiful Sacredness that is Life

 

How art has changed me.

 

882777357_IMG_20190322_0919501.thumb.jpg.d446b20bc2978f8428d053e59fd94c33.jpg

 

How has it changed you and your world?

 

I was in the darkness. Locked in my own colourless world of thought and pain/pathology. Back turned to love, building walls from letting the light get in, no growth, stagnant decay. Loveless - No will to play with the world around me. In return falling deeper and deeper into isolation from my Self and the world around me. Darker and darker was my world

 

Then I found I could play with my world not through manipulating it pharmacologically, but through art. I could explore myself away from thought to uncover emotionality, spirituality, deep connection to Self and kindle inner light. Awaken aspects of me that were dead dormant. Learn to love myself, learn to grow through challenges healthily.

 

The primary thing I've re-embraced through art is that each moment is a moment to create better - be truer to our Divinity

 

751114656_IMG_20190324_0454261.thumb.jpg.b2ab78f94c81b70fed65d16c0ae19b0a.jpg

 

What sort of world are you creating today?

Divinity or Disorder?
Progression or Stagnation?
Love/Acceptance or Fear/Judgement?
Harmony or Hate?
Humanity or Individual Ego?
Past or Presence?
Unity or Disconnection?
Wholeness or Fragmentation?

 

If you're not happy with where you are... re-create.

 

I was in a spot where I couldn't follow conversations, had no expression, could only read things relying on some cognitive reserve, short hits of analysis and scattered attention, couldn't even watch TV... was going nowhere

 

It just left me frustrated. I tried cognitive tasks trying to restore some cognition and change thinking with thinking. I was continuously trying to "recover a pathway that was damaged and failing" to no avail.

 

These have become my mainstay cognitive remediation tasks that I do throughout the day, along with reading and music stimulation. Should get more social stimulation eventually

 

I've discovered that by using aspects I would normally dismiss I can get back some attention, some goal-oriented direction, better affect and more. The quality of my thinking changed drastically and emotionality is there, along with a more coherent sense of self. There's a meditative aspect and a spiritual one.

 

Before and after short-term self art-therapy self-concepts - Disorder to Divinity...

 

2044496503_IMG_20190324_0744121.thumb.jpg.31e37623039557ed497366cc8d419066.jpg

 

In short:

From an ill analytical/rational being of ego infiltrated by unconscious 'not knowing my own Self' and seeing the material for gain, to embrace more.

To see new layers of Self beyond illness - be in touch with my unconscious, my symbolic, my rational/cognitive/analytical, emotional, aesthetic and spiritual aspects with less need to bottom dwell through the material for sort-term 'sustenance'

 

It allowed me to add the very basics: More structure in the day, something positively creative to do, channeling the energy from destructive to creative, freedom of expression, goal-oriented activity, a connection to the moment, self and other, behavioural activation and regaining a sense of choice and a simple challenge and novelty and fostering a healthy self-concept. For example when I feel totally stuck, I can simply think to myself, "what colour do I want to choose?" "how do I want to do it?". With each choice you make, you regain a sense of agency and freedom from suffering

 

For me, I'm deliberately using things I'm particularly weak at skills in and steering clear of writing as I feel the ties to language are not always the best for all.

 

“Art therapy can also provide a nonthreatening way into mental health treatment for other groups often resistant to traditional forms of therapy. Creating art has been proven to increase psychological and emotional resilience and resistance to stress."

 

"It helps people to free themselves from destructive patterns and to work on satisfying their basic needs as independent and responsibly functioning individuals in a positive connectedness with themselves and their surroundings.The strength of art therapy may be the experiential level and the appeal to the capacity to play, to flexibility, and to be creative. This makes experiences easier to reach, and developing from there into a Healthy Adult mode is possible in a manner that is more felt than thought."

 

“Arts therapies do not rely on artistic knowledge or ability,” they say. “They work by accessing imagination and creativity, qualities which all human beings possess, in order to generate new models of living and contribute to the development of a more integrated sense of self.”

 

https://www.theguardian.com/anglicare-nurturing-your-body-and-mind/2018/may/04/therapy-imitating-art-improving-mental-health-through-creativity

 

 

So far, I've noticed it has:

 

- served as a way of practicing gratitude and nurturing our positive elements like hope and joy
- catharsis of things holding you back
- opportunity to truly meet ourselves
- opportunity to connect with the moment and flow
- to embrace challenge at your own pace
- freedom and acceptance for our emotions and fully embrace them, likewise for yourself.

 

"...your art does not have to look a particular way to be appreciated because that actually supports what we’re trying to accomplish with our inner emotions and conflicts. We remove the “should” from the art and indirectly even ourselves so that we allow a space for ourselves to be fully mindful of everything without discrimination.

 

There is a beauty in being able to recognize and embrace each emotion without making them either good or bad. When we practice doing this often, we cultivate acceptance, self-compassion, and a chance to restore inner peace."

 

https://walk-with-blue.com/art-therapy-ideas-meet-your-true-self-through-creative-arts/

 

"All are connected with a sensibility that art—or, more specifically, creative response — is something we do, in answer to the question “What kind of world do you want to live in?”

 

...we pull us apart, placing “I” above “we.”

 

We need to get back to creative response as the antidote to the individualism, consumerism and cynicism that now define our culture.

Creative response can shift how we think, how we see; it leads us to feel something different about our experience and the world. It advances the odd, the idiosyncratic, the impossible; its elusiveness is both anti-ideological and universal as it rallies us around our common humanity. It compels us to take an active participation in the world by challenging the destructive ideologies that corrupt our society. It can generate inventive actions in every area of society

 

The new, emerging “we” own the future: because our rejection of cynicism and apathy free us from the trap of history’s bad ideologies; because embracing compassion as a cornerstone of democracy allows us to imagine ourselves in the position of another; because transforming the narrow thinking of the past and problems of the present opens up possibilities for the future; and because the moment we see ourselves as citizens of the world, the future is ours."

~ Antonino D'Ambrosio

 

How it Evolves Consciousness

 

"Archaic Structure: There is no perspective, no sense of otherness, and the distinction between object and subject does not exist; there is no differentiation between self and nature, or between self and universe. The apprehension of individual self is at this stage dormant, and all that exists is complete unity, “a time of complete non-differentiation of man and universe”

 

Magical Structure: This structure marks a beginning in the growth of self-consciousness. However, there is still a strong association of self with nature. Identity is in terms of collective, or tribe, and space and time are present in each moment. There is no interior experience, only an outer awareness and man’s consciousness is at once separate and part of his environment. It does not lie within him but is of the world. From this standpoint man assimilates this consciousness as a confrontation, and he learns to be aware of, and a part of the forces of nature. Within this structure man’s desire to have nature, as opposed to being part of it, has germinated, and this need develops man’s conscious will

 

Mythical Structure: With this structure imagination becomes a distinctive component. Feuerstein (1987) said language became the way to enter into a relationship with reality. He stated it was a way to communicate and construct it, and through language or symbolization of reality, the human being becomes, in a sense, creator of his world

 

Man’s entrance into the mental structure is characterized by a tremendous leap in consciousness. Gradually the gods become replaced with man’s apprehension of his own thinking. While the mythical structure could be said to be related with speech and storytelling, the mental structure is defined by vision and space. It was not that depth and space did not exist previously, but the birth of perspective brought something new to the human experience. Through the awareness of location in relation to objects a heightened sense of depth and spatiality became a new component of consciousness, and this new capacity allowed the world to be viewed in terms objectivity. The realization of being an internal creature in an external environment finalized the separation from nature, and man’s ability to think in terms of perspective allowed him to rationalize and reason. Unlike the previous structures, this consciousness mutation has a heightened sense of individuality and a capability of directing and discursive thought. However, the ability of man to rationalize has come with the cost of his disregard of, and need to cut apart, the world. Perspective gives dominion over space, but an ever increasing need for dominion has created a separateness of man from the whole.

 

We currently exist in the mental structure which is dominated by the paradigm of a separation of consciousness and matter; what is commonly referred to as the Newtonian Cartesian model consciousness. Breaking free of this and into a new dimension of reality requires more than just an expansion of consciousness, or an acceptance of new ideas. ... the expansion of consciousness is still just a quantitative and spatial conception, and an illusion. It is related to the material concept of consciousness, or consciousness as the accumulation of ideas. What is needed is the growth of consciousness, which is an intensification of it.

 

The role of perspective in the mental structure is contrasted that of the aperspectival in the Integral. This term refers to a transcendence of perspective. In comparison with the chronological orientation of time of the mental structure, this structure is free of temporal and spatial limitations; it is an egoless and a holistic view of reality"

 

https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/cejournal/vol12/iss12/2/

 

 Recovering the Divine from within the disorder

 

There is often a strong spiritual component and a search for existential or transcendent meaning

Weaving a disorder into a life-affirming personal mythology is important

 

- people embrace living in the present, accept life’s challenges with dignity and maturity, and grow
- renewed hope and determination for a brighter future - relationship with the sacredness of life, nature and the universe
- strengthened understanding of themselves and others, their true personality or Self 'emerging from the ruins'
- personal limitations become ground from which spring unique possibilities
- develop a source of hope, inspiration, love, joy, courage, comfort and guiding values or a moral code by which to live a complete and meaningful life
- teaches people not to take their mental health, happiness or life for granted
- begin to foster the characteristics of inner strength, peace, a sense of meaning and purpose, self- reflection and interconnectedness
- a positive outcome from their suffering

 

http://www.psychosocial.com/IJPR_13/Healing_of_the_soul_Gardner.html


One of the core characteristics that makes people vulnerable to issues is a sense of internal emptiness—a pervasive feeling of being hollow, empty, of something missing.

 

"Each time we wake up from a modus operandi state of unconscious reflexive autopilot thinking and reacting and become mindfully aware of our internal and external experience, there is an awakening of spirit."

 

From one example [1]

 

...it wasn’t that all his thoughts had disappeared, rather, a particular kind of self-referential thinking had cut out what he calls “the blah blah network.” (“default mode network” (DMN), that is, the endlessly ruminative story of me: the obsessive list-maker, the anxious scenario planner, the distracted daydreamer.

 

I just don’t have this ongoing emotionally-charged, self-referential narrative gobbling up bandwidth.” What disappeared along with the “me” narrative: any sense of being a separate self, and with it, all mental and emotional suffering.

 

“...the entire world just opened up. I mean it literally opened up. I dropped into this magnificent expansiveness – a vast empty space without any thoughts whatsoever.”

 

- we see glimpses of the much bigger picture around us and find humility in the moment. We can become aware that humility is not thinking less of oneself, but rather thinking of oneself less, and that we are worthy of self-compassion. Compassion for others means appreciating their pain and experiencing a heart-based response to it. Compassion evokes an interest in offering support, understanding, and kindness to others when they struggle, make mistakes, or fail.

 

Awakening may occur in situations of stress, depression and loss. For example, a woman described how she was devastated by the end of a seven-year relationship, "facing a suffering that I didn’t imagine could possibly exist.'" However, in the midst of this suffering, she "began to experience a clearness and connection with everything that existed…I was in a state of such pure happiness and acceptance, that I was no longer afraid of anything. Out of that depth arose such a compassion and connection to everything that surrounded me." [2]

 

One person had a powerful awakening experience while suffering from intense depression during which she "felt the most intense love and peace and knew that all was well."

 

The world is a much more benign and meaningful place than we normally perceive it to be. And once we have glimpsed this, it becomes a permanent reality to us.

 

A clear attitude change
Personality change
Improved outlook on life
Increased ability to share and feel emotions
Overall improved well being

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/some-assembly-required/201404/what-constitutes-spiritual-awakening

[1] https://upliftconnect.com/a-scientists-spiritual-awakening/
[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/out-the-darkness/201802/the-after-effects-awakening

Edited by Alchemica
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Posted (edited)

:wub::wub:

 

 Fine-tuning the ability to experience beauty and developing inspirational capabilities witin the present moment, engages processing the karma towards more pleasant incarnations. These compound expressions of significant-for-the-self experiences within the means of art, are the communication offered to share these communions of personal divinity.

 Communicating in such manner is open to others and does not require any special preparation to experience the offered reality, unlike exchange through the means of language for example. The being is engaging the offered combination of frequencies in accord with their own karmic tendencies to integrate whatever is meaningful at that moment. Art pieces for the mind are similar to public parks to visit and enjoy. 

Incarnating in your moments of art creation is as meaninful as incarnating in your moments of developing your personality. Developing the means of communication which are inherently unique to your being.

 Whatever form of expression you need: building, gardening, dancing, drawing, singing, playing an instrument, helping the ones in need - being a healer or a mechanic , offering your activity as a heart to heart communication, carrying the communion of personal beauty ,is your art. Martial art is a possibility for personal development as well and there's heаling of thought patterns involved there too.

 Sometimes making art is a leasure and sometimes is hard work .. it might continue moments or years, but bringing attunement for the being within the sense of meaning and fulfillment is the way consciosness goes into harmonious state.

 

 Health is not a constant. It is a feedback mechanism showing the ability to integrate the energies and the motions within the world of a being, into harmonious states of coexistence for the consciouness. The need for personal healing is reflecting the need for finding harmony and a way to be happy in everyday life.

 Harmony or harmonious state is a personal energy-exchange dynamic.
 Achieving the state of harmonious incarnation within the moment goes with the responsibility of nourishing one's own harmony. Experiencing beauty while incarnating is guiding the mind towards hamonious relationships within the world of the being and the thought patterns engaged in energy-echange involving beauty are harmonious as well..

 

 Comunication in general is an offering of multitude of realities with every next expression. Decision for a consensus reality is the personal choice we make in any moment, within that particular communication and with every such decission that communication takes new avenue, according to the meaning we decide .
 With a song for example, if we dicide the consensus reality on offer is not something we want to engage in, we find a reason to move to another song. Someone else might find the consensus reality on offer to be appealing to engage in and that person tunes to the frequencies involved in that particular song - integrating those frequencies into their own vibrational plethora, with all the karmic consequences. The new energy-exchange dynamics of that being are the resultant vector equilibrium of the newly achieved state of consciousness in those moments of pleasure listening .
 If a song harmonizes your mind and you feel good or happy for some reason, that is appealing enough. The realities on offer in that song are a constant multitude, but the consensus reality you decided to create for your being is dependant on your state in that particular moment, in which you're experiencing wellness. In another moment the same song might have different effects if the experiencing person decides in favour of different consensus reality.

 Decisions in favour of particular consensus reality determine the karmic relationships within the current reality for the being making the decission, based on the state of consciousness involved.
Wellness and harmony are based on current energy exchange dynamics for each moment of incarnation and depend on consensus reality decissions made for each moment.

   
Reintegrating moments and events of the past towards healing, is the process of deciding for new consensus reality, often involving absolution for the karmic relationships involved in the non-functional and thus hindering the current moments of harmonious incarnation, outdated reality. 
New consensus reality means different state of consciousness, which is being kept stable.
Prompting new states of consciouness by psychoactive means and visiting new realities for broader overall perspective have been in human history for ages.
Healing is the natural process of tuning the being into harmony, although stabilizing the healthy state of consciousness often comes with internal work, done consciously and willingly by the individual. 


Making art is a carrier activity for experiences of harmony and is stabilizing those new healthy sates of consciousness by developing the needed thought patterns in the brain. Evolving the ability to make art for your personal enjoyment and inspiration teaches the being to love expressions of the self, helping the divine comprehension of harmony.. 

 

:innocent_n::innocent_n:
 

Edited by mysubtleascention
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That was beautifully written @mysubtleascention I like the mention so often of harmony - that's a wonderful way to put it. Thanks for sharing.

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As spring starts to come around, trying to get back some creativity as it was nicely therapeutic. Not 'good' at it but better than no creative stimulation. Also brings back 'the moment'.

 

Trying to draw plants as I garden, or think about them... Particularly trying to draw all the plants as I wait for them to germinate on the heat mat.

Coming up with a wall of plants... art with a heart I like to call it

IMG_20190809_111525[1].jpg

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