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Buddha Meets Art

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

How I blend Buddhist Psychotherapy with Art Therapy


A few years back when I completed my certificate with the Nalanda Institue in Contemplative Studies: Year of #Compassion, I was able to delve deeper into a body of learning that awakened me to a whole new way to practice psychotherapy. One of the beauties of this is bringing these concepts into my #ArtTherapy.


Among the cool art projects I’ve done with clients, the Broken Bowl is by far one of my favourites because it is a great metaphor for reconciliation and acceptance of self and others, or as I like to put it reconciliation of all the selves that exist within the self.


Let me tell you more about the concept behind the art project and how this work can be so healing. Overcoming change, disruption, disturbance, and trauma involve reconciliation, achieved first by emotional self-awareness and by accepting the change agents of our trauma.


Embracing our damage is poetically manifested in Japanese art of Kintsugi (kin- golden; tsugi – joinery).

Embracing our damage is poetically manifested in Japanese art of Kintsugi (kin- golden; tsugi – joinery). Kintsugi is based on the broader philosophy of the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi - where wholeness and beauty is found not in the ideals of symmetry and perfection, but in the Zen Buddhist concept of impermanence and imperfection.

Kinsugi is the art of mending broken objects with a golden ‘glue,’ making them even more aesthetically pleasing than their original state. When completed, the covered cracks aren’t intended to accentuate its flaws, but to mark an essential moment in its life story.

As it relates to the Self and relationships, #reconciliation, is also a mending practice (re: again; conciliare – bringing together) whereby one reconciles or comes to terms with two or more different perspectives (experiences, records, etc.) so they are in agreement or compatible.

Repair, reconciliation, reconstitution all require a personal #transformation where the perfect is less aesthetically pleasing than the broken, and its shape, shadows, edges, and form are impossible to see until it is fractured.

Kintsugi, like The Broken Bowl project, becomes a beautiful metaphor for tending kindly to our personal psychic wounds and embracing the inevitable scars of life.

This concept of #WabiSabi offers an understanding of dialectical nature of life, possibility, and hope. In Zen, aesthetics or art is the way in which “spiritual truths” can be elucidated allowing for “direct seeing” or deep insight into the nature of reality. Zen nudges the limitations of conventional Western thinking as it is a direct intuitive experience.

Embracing the art of imperfection and relinquishing ourselves to Universal law, which promises absolutely nothing and guarantees no safety net, can help us redefine our self-concept by shifting our Western cultural paradigm.


Want to learn more? Reach out. I also talk about this concept in my e-book Mindset Reset: 7 Days to 7 Ways to a Flexible Mindset.




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