Thursday, May 27, 2010

What can I say mantras are taking over my life….

Om, Detail of larger piece

Well and is that a bad thing? I don’t think so! It all began innocently enough as all obsessions do, but then they grow and can get out of control. OK I’m being dramatic here but the facts are mantras have begun to invade nearly every aspect of my life.

Many years ago I became familiar with mantra practice.  A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation", according to Wikipedia. Over the years my mantra practice has been sporadic and I have used a variety of different mantras that I have made up or obtained from some reading or teaching I’d attended over the years. More recently I decided to place much more intentioned focus on the practice. I decided to focus on one mantra solely repeating it 108 times daily at a minimum; I did this in the morning using my mala to track the repetitions. After that I would recite the mantra throughout the day in my head and or out loud depending on the situation. I found myself chanting in the car, while in the grocery store, while out for a walk and so on. Soon the thought came to me to actually write the mantras repeatedly, bringing them into physical manifestation. I started writing the mantra I had chosen to focus on in a notebook scrolling all over the page in different patterns. As I write the mantras I keep my focus on the point of the pen on the paper watching the ink flow while reciting the sounds in my head. 
Mantra written in journal 

Naturally this deepened my focus on the mantra creating a deeper awareness on more subtle levels of conscious. After working with the mantra this way for a week or so the thought came to write the mantras on watercolor paper and do washes of color over the written mantras creating paintings, this then lead to smaller versions on greeting cards and art trading cards (ATC’s).
The mantra 'Om Mani Padme Um', 11" x 14" ink and watercolor on paper

2.5" x 3.5" Mantra art trading cards, Ink and watercolor on paper

Greeting cards 6" x 8" Ink and watercolor on watercolor paper, blank inside.

I work this way for a week or so and then the next idea dawns… write the mantras with in the formation of sacred geometric patterns. And there the obsession grows. I begin a piece and can hardly stop until it is completed. Writing for an hour or so then breaks to rest my hand and arm. I’ve been known to start a piece in the afternoon work on it till 10PM fall asleep for a few hours and then up and working on the piece in the middle of the night.

Sanskrit Om ringed with the seed sound written out in concentric circles around the OM. Om Bhagavan rings the entire piece and Om Shanti is around the grid. In the center are mantras Om Mani Padme Um, and Aham Prema.

Progression of mantra piece showing the Sanskrit characters for the various chakras on the human body. 
30" x 22" Ink on paper.

These pieces are as much about the journey of creating them as well as the destination of completion. Stop back for more pictures and postings of pieces in this series. 

Visit to see my malas for tracking your mantra counts and I will be posting cards, ATC's and paintings there too.