For the last 20 years I have practiced Tao Guang Gong, a spiritually-oriented chi gong (energy work). I studied with a young Chinese woman whose family has developed this particular form. Tao Guang Gong means “Way of Light Practice.”
In this form one begins with a prescribed posture and then simply lets the body move. There is a series of 10 set postures with a little mantra for each, but the movements are different each day, as the body/mind/spirit is allowed to express itself. So it is a physical practice that attunes a person to the body, the energies of the day, and the inner self. It’s often quite blissful.
This acceptance of energies beyond the ego has come to inform many aspects of my life, from the way I invite wildflowers into the garden to my art studio practice. In the studio, paintings are not pre-conceived. They develop in their own way and show me their possibilities. The paint, once it’s down on paper, is not manipulated. It flows in little streams of its own making and settles into puddles. Then it’s my job to compose these dried paint puddles into artwork, balancing the natural chaos with imposed geometry.
Nature offset by orderly (human) form is found all over Asian art and architecture.My innate attraction to this model was heightened by studying ceramics, which included looking at a lot of Chinese and Japanese pottery, and Persian miniature paintings, those condensed/extreme examples.
Agnes Martin, a personal favorite and a student of Zen, found a compelling balance between her delicate gestures and a strict geometry. I believe she was conscious of using her art to cultivate inner awareness in this way while producing a powerful body of work.
Finding harmony with Nature/inner nature is my aim and my tao (way). It is arrived at intuitively, demands mindfulness and tends to beauty.