Meditation on Thoughts

“If one looks at a thing with the intention of trying to discover what it means, one ends up no longer seeing the thing itself, but of thinking of the question that is raised.”

René Magritte
A fish stands upright in the foreground of an image, a large ball sits in the background with two small individuals standing next to it and the sea and a cloudy sky are the backdrop for the scene
René Magritte; L’esprit de famille, 1963; Carnegie Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Scaife. © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Imagine each thought in your head is like an object in a painting during our latest guided meditation on thoughts inspired by L’esprit de famille by René Magritte.

Step-by-Step Meditation

Listen to Meditation on Thoughts:

  1. Take a deep breath and look at this painting.
  2. How does this work make you feel? Try not to analyze the details or specific objects, but rather notice your emotional reaction to the painting.
  3. Bring your attention to the different objects: the ball, the fish, the figures in the distance. Look at the objects and see them for what they are, without any intention to discover what they mean.
  4. Now close your eyes and focus on your own thoughts.
  5. Imagine each thought is like an object in a painting. There is no need to question what the meaning of each thought is – simply observe the thought for what it is.
  6. It might help to label each thought as it enters your mind. Some labels could be: memory, planning, worrying, hearing, or feeling. There is no right or wrong, just label each thought in a way that can help you separate from it and observe the thought without any added narrative.
  7. Continue following your thoughts in this way to free and calm the mind.

This work is on view in Scaife Gallery 14