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WOW- Wonders of Wellness – the Power of Silence

www.newspatrolling.com | March 2, 2023

Since my childhood, I loved to paint. For hours in a day, I would be immersed in the magic of colors. Nature, gods and goddesses, still life, ships and boats, village scenes…you name it and I was at it. If you look at it objectively, that was what anyone would say.

As years rolled by, and as it usually happens in India, with marriage, this hobby took a back-seat. I got engrossed with family, in-laws and grooming my son. Imagine, not seeing a brush for twenty years! Then to me surprise life took a pleasant turn and from a business I drifted in to academia. Though I am a graphic designer, I began with courses related to visual art and calligraphy. And once again I could connect with colors. In addition, as I was pursuing Masters in Painting, the assignments kept me glued to different art materials. All this happened when I was forty plus.

I would paint almost every day for 3-6 hours. At a glance, what all (including me) noticed were different art-works. However, as a trade off if I may say, after a span of 6-7 years, I noticed that an unshakable stillness, an internal equilibrium, a silence, no thoughts in my mind for long durations, an alertness, curiosity, heightened energy and a smile had become an intrinsic part of my nature. Though there were problems, I experienced that I could easily maneuver.

This being my state, in contrast all around me I noticed, specially students had issues with anxiety, depression, a lack of focus, energy drain and a lack of exuberance though in the prime of their youth. Social media and all sorts of tech-gadgets added to their mental clutter; as this generation is born with technology all around. The contrast was so evident that it got me thinking. I discovered the answer in my daily routine and art-activities conducted. I truly wanted my students to enhance their focus, creativity, curiosity and energy levels.

Say for instance, at the click of a button we can switch on and off a light, or mute a television, or traffic comes to a stand-still seeing a red signal. On similar lines, is it possible for us to consciously put a coma if not a full-stop to our thoughts? When we are asleep we are unconsciously unconscious. Can we have an interesting mechanism to become consciously unconscious? Many will immediately respond, “Yes, one can do that through meditation!” Surely, I agree. My question is, how can we make it engaging for the youth, as there is no INSTANT gratification in meditation. With this as a foundation, Wonders of Wellness (WOW) was conceptualized. To use simple art activities, to enable students experience mindfulness/ the cessation of a chattering monkey-mind and provide instant gratification within twenty minutes. It clicked and worked like magic.

Try it out. You could even copy a simple graphic Warli painting which just has stick figures. No one is judging you nor assigning any marks. So feel free to try this activity and experience a pleasurable silence. And because one has to stick to the discipline, having a mentor or a buddy definitely helps.

This perspective of looking at art has never been shared with us as students. I remember, when I was a student, I painted memory drawings, still-life, free-hand, and nature drawings. However, not once did our art teachers share this perspective. But, believe me, it works miracles. Therefore, considering its multiple merits, I strongly recommend and urge parents and students to resort to any art activity as a daily practice. Listed in our ancient Indian texts, are 64 arts. Feel free to choose any that suits you.  If this gift of meditation from India to the world can become a billion dollar industry under the name of mindfulness in the United States, shouldn’t we Indians practice and flaunt it too?

Many people are more inclined to sound and therefore music as one of the arts. I learn music too. The difference I felt is, no matter how melodious the instruments and voice is, it disturbs the silence of nature. But with visual art, there is pin-drop silence which facilitates mindfulness.

And here is another interesting insight. Like every other person, I used to consider the practice of Yoga to be restricted only to various asanas. Until, one of my senior faculty colleagues gave me an understanding into what Yoga actually meant from the Patanjali Yogasutra perspective. Patanjali Yogasutra states ‘Yoga chitta vritti nirodha’ (any activity that efficiently puts a full stop to the wavering mind, is Yoga). I discovered another interesting definition in Bhagawad Gita, which states, ‘Yoga karmasu kaushalam’ ( an activity done to perfection is Yoga). (chp.2:50). The most indicative shloka is from chapter 12, shloka 12 in the Bhagawad Gita, which mentions, better than abhyasa/learning a skill is gaining knowledge, and better than knowledge is meditation. These to me are solid reasons to engage in artistic pursuits because it definitely calms our mind and facilitates Yoga.

I hope, pray, and envision that day when everybody first experiences and realizes this power of silence…Because it is at our core, it is the source of creativity, our internal reservoir of energy which we are unaware of and seldom touch base. Hope that day dawns soon when everyone spares some time in a day, looking inwards, to experience the joy of infinite creativity, serene silence, and sustained happiness!

Prof. Suniti Vadalkar is the faculty of design, art, and performance at FLAME University. 

The visual representation is by Srishti Das, an undergraduate student at FLAME University, who attended a WOW session.

(Source:- https://newspatrolling.com/wow-wonders-of-wellness-the-power-of-silence/ )