The onlooker of artwork may feel various emotions by looking at a photo or a painting. Experiencing beauty and pleasure via art calls us back to it time and again, which is excellent, but can we take it a step further, making art a tool for self-discovery?
I'm glad you're curious! Yes, we can. When considering art as a tool for self-discovery, we are not concerned with the artist's intention. We can forget about the artist entirely. What's essential is how the artwork serves as a tool to take us deeper into ourselves. We can do this through meditation.
Meditating on art can take you on a magic rug ride into yourself, exposing parts of your psyche you may not be able to access while in a normal waking state of consciousness. To experience this yourself, experiment with the meditation below.
Sit comfortably in a chair. Place the forest photo (above this text) in front of you.
Take a few deep breaths in through your nose. Take the air deep into your abdomen and let it out slowly through your nose.
Let your eyes find a place in the center of the photo, in the white space between the trees. Let your attention focus on the center.
Feel the forest wrap around you as you're pulled deeper into the center.
You may notice, in the foreground, with your peripheral perception, a barrier and impediment to moving forward into the photo.
If you don't, keep going. Keep breathing.
If you perceive the barrier (branches in the foreground), ask, "what are you?" If nothing comes, ask again.
Allow what comes in the form of images or sound. Pay attention to subtleties. If emotion comes, let it flow.
If you received an answer to your question, you might have learned what is standing in your way. If not, what prevents you from getting where you're trying to go?
Meditate on this answer. How does it feel? Allow your emotions, allow your thoughts.
Maybe you've been able to tap your unconscious for assistance in revealing the blockages that stand between you and your dreams.