Artmonk Practice Period in Lyons, CO

Artmonk Practice Period in Lyons, CO

The Art Monastery Project’s first-ever Artmonk Practice Period will begin this February in Lyons, CO, with a silent retreat. For three-weeks, a group of eight Artmonks will follow a monastic schedule of intensive practice together: meditation, physical practice, ritual, study, and manual work (chores and volunteering outside).

After these three weeks of the silent, meditation based investigation, we will spend time together processing what we’ve learned and what experiences stood out to each of us. This will be the basis for moving forward with the next phase of the AMP, and help us to clarify what the organization can offer, what we are in service of in the world.

The overall theme of the practice period is “Noonday Sun.” This is in keeping with our yearlong investigation of “sext,” the noon ritual of the western monastic office (part of our eight-year Art Monastic Cycle).

The theme is celebration of the Sun at its zenith over our heads, with its light as bright and direct as it’s going to get, and our shadows at their shortest. It’s a theme rich with metaphor. Hence, we’ll bring as much of the light of awareness as we can to our own practices.

We will also investigate and deconstruct some of the core questions of the AMP itself. We will look at the ideas and values that drive the project and what purpose the organization is in service of. For example: since 2006 we have been asking ourselves, “What is an Artmonk?” and “What is the relationship between creativity and contemplation?” These two questions have served us well for almost a decade, but have lately begun to feel a bit vague, a bit stale. They are not as fruitful for our conversations and contemplations as they once were. Not that they aren’t the right questions, but we need a new way of looking at what  they’re trying to get at.

This year we are attempting to “unask” the old questions. In order to get more specific about our vision and our practice, we are asking some new ones.

Below are the kinds of questions that Artmonks can ask themselves. We invite you to explore them in your own artistic and contemplative practice and share what you discover with us. What practices come out of these questions? What further questions do they suggest?

  • How can art connect me to something “greater” than myself?
  • How is art my “refuge” in something greater than myself?
  • How does art transform my emotions (anger, joy, sadness, jealousy, addiction, hatred, peace, bliss, craving, desire, fear, etc.) into awareness?
  • How can being creative  be an unconscious, effortless part of my daily routine?
  • How might increased discipline benefit my art?
  • Which of my habit patterns are supportive of my art, and which are getting in the way?
  • How can I cultivate receptivity to the muses?
  • How does my art connect me to other people?
  • How is my art a celebration of both solitude and community?
  • How can I make art that’s just between me and what I hold sacred?
  • How is my art an offering to what I hold sacred?
  • How is art a chance for the different “voices” inside me to speak and be heard?
  • How can I make my “inner critic” work for me, rather than paralyze me?
  • What kind of art does my “inner guru” make?
  • How would my “inner guru” experience the art of others?
  • How can I experience the art of my peers without jealousy, but with “sympathetic joy”?
  • How does my art benefit from increased concentration?
  • How does my art benefit from increased insight?
  • What kinds of art are worth my attention and time?
  • How does awareness of the “Three Characteristics” (impermanence, suffering, and “no-self”) impact my art?
  • How does contemplation of the “Four Reminders” impact my art?
  • How can I make art with the mind of a Buddha?
  • How can my art itself be a Buddha?
  • How can I make art with the heart of Christ?
  • What is the art of Christ on the Mount of Olives? What is the art of Christ betrayed? What is the art of Christ on the way to the cross? What is the art of Christ on the cross?
  • What is the art of submission and devotion to God?
  • What is the art of the love of God?
  • How is my art a sacrifice? For what?
  • How am I a sacrifice through my art? For what?
  • How can I make art with the growing awareness that I will grow old, will experience pain and sickness, will die?
  • How can I make art from a place of love?
  • How can I make art from a place of bliss?
  • How can I make art from a place of peace?
  • How can I make art from a place of wholeness?
  • How can I make art from a mind of awakeness?
  • How can I make art from a heart of compassion?
  • How can I be discerning yet open-minded in my creative process?
  • How can creating art increase my awareness?
  • How can I make art with a mind “in the flow”?
  • How can I make art from a mind at play?
  • How is my art a channelling or sourcing of something other than “me”?
  • How can my art connect me to the truth, and/or to Truth?
  • How can my art help me know myself, and/or the Self?
  • How does my art embrace or express the Jungian shadow?
  • How does my art bring light to the shadow?
  • How can I balance conscious mind and unconscious mind in my art?
  • How are my own projections at play in my art, and in how I see the art of others?
  • What in my art expresses a healthy ego: self-esteem vs self-centeredness?
  • What in my art is the voice of superego (e.g. my parents, society)
  • What in my art is the id? What in my art is the sublimation my desires and fears?
  • How does my art generate and express wisdom?
  • How does my art generate and express compassion?
  • How can my art be a source for personal and cultural change?
  • How does my art put me in touch with and serve the “greater good”?
  • How does my art put me in touch with and serve meaning of my life?
  • How is my art my “life’s work”?
  • How does my art help me transcend limited behaviors and thought patterns?
  • How does my art transcend me?
  • How can my art be more deeply personal, and authentic?
  • How can my art be more specific to this place and time?
  • How can my art be more universal?
  • How is my art an expression of my privilege or lack of privilege in society?
  • What is art, if I’m the one who gets to say what art is?
  • What is art for, if I’m the one who gets to say what art is for?
  • Whom is art for, if I’m the one who gets to say whom art is for?
  • Who is an artist, if I’m the one who decides who is an artist?
  • How is art for the benefit of others, of society?
  • What type of art would actually create change in the world, making it a better place to live? For whom is it a better place for?

 

1 Comment

  1. Art Monastery Project Save the Date: Artmonk Retreat Colorado March/April - Art Monastery Project
    February 5, 2016

    […] only if there is enough interest. More about what we’re examining this month on the Art Monastery website. Know someone else who may be interested? Feel free to forward! We’ll be in touch […]

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