I suppose it is only natural that when you work a lot with something, it gradually shows up in your dreams. Thus, it is no surprise that some variation of the intricate mandala patterns I paint on stones make an appearance in quite a few of my dreams.
I have always been a fairly "active" dreamer, and thanks to some "structured practice" (keeping a dream journal) during a period of therapy a couple of decades ago, I became a lot more adept at actually remembering my dreams.
A finished "Sun Stone" for meditation
So Last Night, in my Dream...
... I found myself taking to a visitor at some event where my wife and I had set up with the stones, as vendors.
"I don't really understand how these can be a meditation..." the person I was talking to was saying.
"Well, let me show you!" I replied.
Then everything became like one of those CGI animations of how it might feel to dive into a galaxy... we "flew" down towards the surface of the stone, until we were literally standing there, with the individual design lines being brightly colored paths, perhaps two feet wide.
Trying to replicate the dream: A super macro shot of a painted stone. Keep in mind that each little dot is MUCH smaller than a match head!
So I explained how you "counted steps" and went "step right, step left, one" followed by "step right, step left, two" and so on, until you'd completed an entire "circuit."
Once you were there, you would "jump out one" and start a new round of walking meditation on the next design circle... and then just repeat until you felt centered and grounded, or until you simply had enough, or had "walked" the entire design.
In My Own Life... Walking Meditations
The dream was quite vivid and clear, so I remembered it quite well. Interestingly enough, the stone in question was a rather lovely "Sun Stone" I am working on — similar to the one in the top photo.
Sun Stone I am currently painting... still a lot of work to do!
As I reflected on the dream, I considered again the healing energy that goes into the making of every Alchemy Stone.
The stones themselves — i.e., the "raw materials" — are found on the beach during my own *walking meditation. And the patterns I walk on the beach while looking for perfect stones very much resemble the "first this way, then that" details of the Mandala pattern.
Later, the painting itself is applied as part of a different meditative process. In a sense, I DO "walk" around the stone in circles, as the design is built, and pattern happens very much in that same "right, left, one; right, left, two" manner.
And that's exactly what I hope to pass along to whomever ends up owning the stone next: It's a very conscious and deliberate process for meditation... something that extends well beyond "Gee, that's a pretty painted stone!"
Close-up of the stone I am currently painting. It will become MUCH brighter and more vibrant once it has been finished.
Spiritual Art, Revisited...
As I have mentioned in the past, spiritual art is a little different in the sense that it goes beyond merely the approach of aesthetics and the "artist's message."
The artist is also — in a sense — creating tools or personal talismans, which adds a layer of responsibility to the work.
From my own experience — and yours may be quite different! — the biggest benefit has been that creating art has also been a process of creating a mindfulness practice.
What I mean by that is that I don't just get to "sit down and make marks on a stone," without having a clear intention. I suppose I could, but after all these years it somehow feels like I would be... dishonoring... what I have been doing.
And it is also this deliberate intention I hope to pass on to the next person who chooses a stone.
But then again, maybe you were just looking for "a pretty stone?" And that's really OK, too! I don't take myself too seriously, you see!
Thanks for reading!
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