Meditation on Memory

To observe attentively is to remember distinctly.

Edgar Allan Poe
An abstract painting with large swaths of bold color.
Raoul De Keyser, untitled, 2002, oil on canvas, Carnegie Museum of Art, A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund

Enjoy this meditation on memory, paired with Untitled by Raoul De Keyser. Follow along with the audio or text below.

Step-by-Step Meditation

Listen to meditation on memory:
  1. Take a few moments and relax the body. Breathe deeply and try to let go of any thoughts in your mind as you look at the painting.
  2. Look with mindfulness and attention as you try to memorize as much as you can about the painting.
  3. Begin by noticing the large elements of the painting, like the colors and shapes. Then, bring your attention to the small details like the brush strokes, shades of colors, and lines created by the paint.
  4. Bring your attention to the composition as a whole once again. Try to focus entirely on the painting, observing attentively as if imprinting the image into your memory. If other thoughts arise, acknowledge them and then return to the painting.
  5. Close your eyes and try to visualize the painting in as much detail and as distinctly as possible. Settle your mind on the memory of the painting to build calmness in the mind.
  6. Continue to hold the image in your mind’s eye as you practice building focus in the mind.

This work is on view in Gallery 16, Scaife Galleries