Monday, August 8, 2016

Three Tips for a Mindful Visit to the Museum - Worldwide Art Day

Three Tips for a Mindful Visit to the Museum

How to Enjoy a Mindful Museum Visit

by Kathleen Lisson

The most stunning piece of artwork I ever saw was the Mona Lisa. I remember feeling pulled in by her stare, and feeling confused - could a painting really be looking directly at me? I also remember the crowd of dozens and dozens of people in the room slowly shuffling forward forward, excitedly talking to one another and then … turning their backs to the famous painting to take a selfie. To truly interact with paintings and sculpture instead of just collect selfies, follow these three tips to mindfully experience an art museum:

Step One - Sit or stand in a dignified position. Our focus and energy are at their peak when the spine is straight and our body is rising up from the ground. Visiting the restroom before starting a museum walk, eating before our visit, wearing comfortable shoes and turning our phones off will remove many common obstacles to fully enjoying an art exhibit.

Step Two - Open the door for mindfulness. Once we enter the museum, take time to slow down from the busy day.  With eyes closed, take a few deeper breaths and focus on feeling the air go in and out of  our lungs. Begin to feel senses in the body by noticing the feet and the feeling of clothes on the body. After a few minutes of this preparation, open the eyes and begin to experience the artwork.

Step Three - Check in to the body’s experience. What emotions are felt when looking at a painting or sculpture? Where specifically are those emotions felt in the body? Artwork can make us feel many things, from tear-filled eyes and full and warm heart of captivation to the twisting gut and pounding heart of uncertainty and fear. If sharing our feelings feels comfortable, quietly share impressions with a friend.

Inciting a viewer’s reaction and response is the very purpose of art. These three tips will help art lovers more fully experience art and recognize the artist’s viewpoint.

Kathleen Lisson is a certified Meditation Teacher and Labyrinth Facilitator and teaches Meditation and Mindfulness at IPSB college in San Diego. Sign up for a private meditation lesson or labyrinth walk in the comfort of your home here:

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