Saturday, November 15, 2014

Meditating with dogs: artist Noula Diamantopoulos and Leonardo

Artist Noula Diamantopoulos and Leonardo.

What are you up to this weekend? Is chillaxing with the non-humans in your life on the agenda?

There’s no doubt that the presence of an animal can be calming. SAT spoke to artist Noula Diamantopoulos who mediates with her dog Leonardo.

What is your day job?

I am an artist and psychotherapist. I have three website profiles: the Studio of Spontaneous Creativity here, the Corporate Buddha (here) and the Mosaic Art School of Sydney (here). 

I also have a blog  and QUEST - this is my performance art.

Why do you meditate?

I use art as a way of accessing our intuition and to awaken our imagination so that we can experience more of who we are.

How did you meet Leonardo?

I have been meditating for almost 18 years and my meditation practice today is different to when I first began. Today it’s about connecting with the great unknown, the field of unlimited potentiality as named by Deepak Chopra. The state that we access when we meditate is clarity. That’s my experience. In this State of clarity I feel I understand what my place is on this planet, what I am here to do and how to be. 

How does he help you meditate?

Leonardo is the first dog I have ever had and I met him at Leichhardt Pet Shop which no longer sells pets. He was about 3.5 months old when I met him. I had no intention of buying a dog however I knew this little fellow was one the moment I left the store without him. I went back the next day and brought him home - that was 7 years ago. He comes to the studio with me every day and the only time we are apart is when I travel interstate.

Leonardo settles down for a session...
What does he do when you mediate?

Leonardo is very used to meditating with me. Every day at the studio we have a small meditation group that meets at 9.15am. We meditate for approximately 20 minutes - different kinds of mediations each time - never the same. We are in a semi-circle and Leonardo has several cushions to choose from. As soon as we start the music and close our eyes he props himself on a cushion and lays silently until we finish.

Sometimes he moves quietly around us as if checking in before he sits on his cushion. He is not disturbed if we chant or if we sound. He is the ultimate expression of chilled.

...and proves very adept at relaxing.
Do you think there is a unique benefit in meditating with animals?

We are all energy beings including animals. Leonardo brings a gentleness to the space, a feeling of safety even. I feel that by meditating with an animal that a different connection is created between us. It’s energetically different to all the other activities that are normally shared with a pet. 

Aside from meditating, how else do you and Leonardo spend time together?

Leonardo attends all my in house workshops. He makes friends easily with people and speeds up the 'getting to know you process'. He also attends all my holistic coaching/psychotherapy sessions because he brings a calming force to my clients. Many of them like to pat him whilst we are in session and other just like having him around because it creates a sense or normality to the session. 
And of course we do the regular stuff like walking and hanging out on the lounge and chasing birds, or possums and playing with other dogs.

Thank you Noula for sharing. Do you share an activity with your dog? Let us know!