Gracious One, Play

Art Gallery

Shivananda, a Swiss PT in Greece shoes off his painted stones and ponders over his 10 (playful) commandments for painting.

Gracious One, play.
The universe is an empty shell
Wherein your mind frolics infinitely

Playfulness as a way


The other day I was asking myself: What do I want to express in my paintings? Shortly afterwards I came across Osho’s Ten Non-Commandments. When I read them, I felt that I would like to express them not only in my paintings, but also in my life.

So let us have a look at them, from the painter’s view:

1. Freedom.
When you look at a painting from a child you can still feel the innocent, uncorrupted freedom in it. This freedom is still alive inside of us, maybe covered up with judgements and unworthiness.

2. Uniqueness of Individuality
In my painting courses I let the participants draw a single line with the pencil. When we look at the lines together we become aware of the uniqueness, even in a single pencil line. It is so liberating to put the urge to compare aside and celebrate our own uniqueness.

3. Love
I have experienced this so many times, that the person who loves himself will easily love his own painting and the person who doesn’t like himself will struggle and doubt. So to love yourself is an important ingredient on this journey.

4. Meditation
When I look at a Van Gogh painting I can sense the quality of meditation, even though I don’t know if he was ever aware of it. For me meditation also means that the painting carries a quality of the natural – of nature.

5. Non-seriousness
Non-seriousness is like a spicy taste in my mouth. Especially in the process of painting I celebrate the approach of non-seriousness. Craziness and humour are welcome.

6. Playfulness
I feel playfulness is my way. When it is missing, then my interest is fading. Many times when I showed a painting to my partner Nisha, she would say: “I miss your playfulness.” When I could allow to hear it, then I could see: Yes, I got actually very serious about it. There was also a resistance, because I knew, if I want to bring the element of playfulness inside the painting, then I have to let go and take the risk that I will destroy the existing ‘nice’ painting. The times that I had the courage to do that, it proved a liberating experience and it was a joy to recognize the playfulness in the doing and finally seeing it reflected in the picture.

7. Creativity
I have heard Osho say, that creativity is not what we are doing, but how we are doing it. It is a quality, which can be applied to every action in our life. We can creatively walk, cook, clean, we can even breathe creatively. It can be applied to every action in our life.

8. Sensitivity
For me sensitivity is the spark which can jump to the onlooker. I feel so honored when somebody is touched by the painting.

9. Gratefulness
Grateful – just to be
Grateful – for the opportunity to express
Grateful – for sharing this life and sharing this moment
Grateful – for this tremendous gift of existence

10. A Feeling of the Mysterious
It doesn’t matter if I paint a stone, a piece of wood or a canvas; one of the main criterion to check if it is finished or not, is: Does it carry the magic – this feeling of the mysterious?
The mysterious is not something which I can do or force. All I can do is to create the space and then it is uncertain, if I am able to allow it. When I recognize it in the painting, there is great joy and the joy is even greater, when I am able to share it with others.

Shivananda is a painter, musician and graphic designer. Born in Switzerland he has made his home in many places during this life’s journey. He likes to refer himself as a PT which means either Perpetual Traveler or Permanent Tourist. Presently he is living in Arillas on the island Corfu. There he has also found the stones seen in the slideshow presented here. He will lead some painting courses in Corfu this summer. To see more of his paintings visit his website There is also a video about him on

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