Shambhala Art and Meditation Retreat

For a week at the beginning of January, a group of us attended a Shambhala Art and Meditation Retreat at Fynbos Estate, near Malmesbury.

Mary Anne Botha – a trained Shambhala art teacher – led the retreat, along with Andras Hajdu, who joined her from France as a co-director. Nicola Savage and Delany Middleton provided key support and co-ordination, doing the lion’s share of behind-the-scenes-work so that those of us attending the retreat could focus on the teachings.

What is Shambhala Art?

Well, taking our cue from Trungpa Rinpoche’s book “True Perception,” it’s art as the practice of non-aggression.

By giving us the opportunity to work in a wide variety of artforms – including acting, singing, writing, calligraphy and object arranging – and coupling perceptual and expressive exercises with meditation, study and contemplation – Mary Anne and Anras skillfully introduced us to artistic expression as a potential path of awakening.

The trick is to use the artmaking process – no matter what you’re making – as a support to bring you back to the vividness and spaciousness of the present moment – the basic goodness that’s available everywhere, at all times.

In this way, it’s no different to meditation.