“Art as Prayer” by Fran O’Gorman | July 15, 2020
I had some previous knowledge of meditation and loved the few experiences of being led in group meditations over the years but I somehow could never get into doing it on my own. When Fr. Daniel, after reading the scriptures of the daily office and an occasional poem, would take his iPhone out to the river- my first thought was “I want to paint that.”
( I should mention I’ve been drawing or painting most of my life.). What I didn’t realize was that in so doing this (painting after the meditation) I would come to find my way of actually meditating on my own. Slowly with brushstroke, color, and line, and the mixing of pigment with water, I was connecting to a part of me that was always there.. but seeing it in a whole new way.
I started to keep an almost daily log of my spiritual life in those paintings and in so doing it opened me to a new dimension of what it could be for me — a way for me to meditate on my own! What a gift and I am so grateful. I’ve expanded my daily practice to include painting what I’ve seen on my walks, and even what I can remember in my head when I go deep enough.
Seeing my art as a form of prayer and the beyond-words experience it provides me has probably been the biggest gift this whole time has given me but not the only gift. The feeling of kinship with everyone at St. Paul’s journeying in each of his and her own way has also been huge. The feeling of isolation and being alone in shutdown was reduced exponentially and the feeling of being together was far deeper than it would have ever been before all of this.
I can’t deny that I still have anxiety about the future. Old habits die hard.. But being in this moment has been good, very good. But most of all learning in a very real way how to experience life in the moment through something I did quite naturally continues to amaze me and fills me with enormous gratitude.