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Looking at Art

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In a world where our senses are bombarded and overwhelmed to the point of submission, I have found that looking at art provides a profound meditative experience that more people need to experience. But, in a world of intense noise, on demand video, sound and social engagement, a painting has a hard time competing with other stimuli that generate instant endorphins.

Check out the image above from Brooklyn-based artist Jen Hitchings. What do you find interesting about it? Try to look at it for just 30 seconds and absorb what it presents to you.

Here’s why you need to think differently about looking at art:

  1. Cerebral Engagement: when you look at a painting, you are forced to engage your senses: sight, intuition, concentration and more. This “active” engagement stimulates your brain and engages the creative part that is under attack today via overstimulation, stress and aging.
  2. Mindfulness: This past March, I began to meditate and I it has offered me profound benefits. The funny thing is when I force myself to quiet my thoughts and stare for thirty seconds at a painting…yes just thirty…I start to feel the same meditative benefits which include deeper breather and greater calm.
  3. Growth: I grew up obsessed by sports and music. Today, I have evolved and added new hobbies and interests that get me off the couch and engaged in learning more about the art of today and what is driving the most creative people in the world.

In today’s day and age, counterintuitive thinking wins. The immediacy of digital information is not the answer for health and happiness. Maybe it is simply slowing down and enjoying the simplicity of things that are thousands of years old…like looking at art.