How Painting and Writing Relate to the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism


Janis Joplin – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

If you have been following my blog, you probably know that I have begun auditing a course about Buddhism and Modern Psychology from Princeton University . You can register for this course from Princeton Here


Image Credit Robin Wright, Princeton Free University Course: Buddhism and Modern Psychology

At the time of writing this post, I understand very little about Buddhism, but as I watched the presenter Robin Wright’s videos, I was struck by how very much the process of creating is like part of the Four Noble Truths.

In a previous post, I discussed the first two of the Buddhist Four Noble Truths. Here 

  1. People suffer or long for something that they do not have.
  2. When they get those things or achieve those things, their satisfaction with them lasts a very short period and they begin to long again.

Wright describes a sense of Ecstasy or pleasure that is associated with getting what we want, doing what we want, and even with dreaming of doing what we want, but as soon as we get what we thought would satisfy us, our pleasure drops. Moments ago, I wrote saying that when I am creating, my sense of pleasure spikes, but when I have created the first version of something, my pleasure in the project plummets, and I don’t want to do the hard work finishing my project Here.

In my opinion, the process of entering into our intuitions is like meditating. As we calm down and begin to hear our intuitions speak, we enter a meditative-like zone.  It is within this zone that the Ecstasy of being creative prevails. Riding one’s intuition is like sky-diving. Your inner airplane takes you to one of the highest places within yourself and then, you jump.

Flipping and floating, you begin to cascade downward, but ultimately, you hit the ground. BAM! The intuition ride is over. The high is gone, and the idea is no longer fresh and exciting; yet, the work is often incomplete. In writing, you have reached the time for editing and re-writing. For artists, this is the time for reworking over and over again. The editing stage of creating is where the Agony part of producing art sets in. – Jacki Kellum

The interesting thing is that I had initially written those words on December 12, 2015, about 7 months before I began learning about Buddhism. I am pointing this out because my having written those words was in no way influenced by what I have learned from Robin Wright in his course Buddhism and Modern Psychology. This leads me to believe that my observations about the creative process are authentic.


 You can register for this course from Princeton Here

I am just beginning to learn about Buddhism, but for quite some time, I have wondered whether making art is in some way related to Buddhist Mindfulness and Meditation. This makes me want to learn more.

Adult Education, Leave, Know, Power, Board, Learn

©Jacki Kellum July 22, 2016


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