“Much healing takes place within: the roots of many diseases with physical
manifestations lie within the mind, and the spiritual afflictions
lie at the base of the entangled and crooked byways of the mind’s clouded meanderings.
Because of this, the role of art in focusing the mind, in changing and uplifting the consciousness by aesthetic and spiritual experience, has an importance difficult to overemphasize.”
-Adapted from Raoul Birnbaum, Ph.D.,M.Phil., M.A.
In Sanskrit, prana means life-force, with specific respect to breath. It is conceptually analogous to qi in Ancient China, or pneuma in Ancient Greece. Wellness in “traditional medicine,” a term that applies to pre-scientific forms of medicine, is inextricably linked with a balanced life force that flows through the body. Wellness is achieved through meditative, ritualistic practice, and beginning to resurface as an integrative approach to health.
My capstone piece, an installation, depicts my personal journey towards this balance, while allowing the viewer to participate in slow, mindful breathing guided by light, at a pace proven to promote a sense of calm. This installation features a circular light centered in the wall opposite the entrance to the space, creating a clear focal point and a James Turrell-like loss of depth perception. The circular light symbolizes the infinite flow of energy and integration of the self with the universe through realization of pranic oneness with all beings. The space also contains representations of three years’ worth of my ink drawings. Created during times of anxiety, stress, or emotional upheaval, my small, intricate drawings have been scaled up and formatted into laser-cut paper and layered on the walls.
These intense cut-outs and quiet light are intended to preserve the pristine nature of the sanctum as a meditative space, while detailing the underlying anxiety that leads to mindful, meditative breathing and eventual catharsis. Thus, the representations of the drawings both create disturbance, as anxiety does, to the attainment of centeredness, and guidance, as visual journaling does, to balancing prana.