Free Your Inner Artist

Healing & Meditation

Ailon’s discovery of his creativity in a painting group in Pune. Now a facilitator himself, his next workshop will be at Osho Leela UK, 11-14 July 2024


Do we all have an artist within ourselves? Perhaps I’m blinded by the speed with which my own appeared, but I am tempted to think yes. You see, I was brought up to be a ‘head’ – an academic, left brain, scholarly, rational thinker in fine Judaic tradition. I had no sense of being an intuitive or creative person, and I certainly displayed no merit at art in school, nor did I ever consider myself an artist. So when my artistic channel opened, I was most surprised.

The catalyst for this opening was a four-day painting group in the Osho Meditation Resort called “Zen and the Art of Oil Painting”, in which each participant was given two canvases and shown how to prepare the oil paints. Other than that, very little instruction was given. To begin with, we all worked methodically and delicately under the hot Indian sun, but after a couple of hours, our group leader Prashant told us to put down our paintbrushes and stand up. He put on some loud, funky music and got us to dance like fools for ten minutes, after which he sent us back to our canvas. The effect was immediate in everyone – we all changed what we were doing, with the majority of us approaching our canvas more playfully. We had been shown a magical ingredient in the approach to creativity: FUN.

An hour or two later we were told to stop again. This time we were asked to sit cross-legged and meditate for fifteen minutes. Returning to the canvas, our artistic approach changed again – now it was more meditative, gentle and prayerful. Over the next two days our creativity group continued, constantly punctuated by these unpredictable Gurdjieff-style ‘stop’ exercises. The masterstroke, however, was kept for last. Towards the end of day two we were asked to stop what we were doing, dance for ten minutes as before, but on returning to our canvases we were given a new instruction. We were told to completely paint over everything we had done during the previous day and a half. People looked at each other in shock. Many had been crafting delicate masterpieces with great precision. But we had no choice in the matter, and took this next step in spite of our resistance.

It wasn’t a one-time-only affair. The same instruction was repeated by Prashant every fifty to sixty minutes, as if he was some sort of ruthless Zen Master. For me though, this abrupt reset became the magical key. We could no longer get too precious about what we were doing. The canvas was not something in front of us that needed to be perfected. Rather, it became a play-thing, a toy to have fun with, a chance to muck about with no feeling of restraint.

As a result, my psychic censor slowly disappeared. I stopped worrying about the outcome and began to get lost in the creative process and surrender into what Osho called ‘Leela’ – the spirit of play. With music in the background, my job was to simply arrange the coloured paints that were sitting in the paint pots and invite them to dance on the canvas. While we were in this newly receptive state, Prashant showed us some further techniques of joy: how to throw and drip the paint like Jackson Pollock, or spread two to three colours at a time with a palette knife. Patterns and shapes far more intricate, beautiful and kaleidoscopic became ours to visually feast on with the minimum of effort.

Over the final two days of the group, I probably witnessed twenty different paintings manifest on my two canvases. By getting out of the way and letting the energy flow, my unconscious brought forth forms and shapes that I could not possibly have preconceived. It was like plugging into a source of inexhaustible creativity and joy, and the more relaxed I was, the more beautiful the outcome.

If an ordinary human like me can get carried away playing with paint, then anyone can.

If you are interested in undergoing a similar process, then join Ailon for a ‘Free Your Inner Artist’ workshop at Osho Leela (UK), 11-14 July 2024. Details is on their website at or contact for more info.

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Ailon’s work is currently on display at Osho Leela, where he also runs art workshops. Prints are available of his images. Contact him through

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