The art of self-inquiry : how does spiritual inquiry influence creative practice? / Lewis Ryland (2017)

The art of self-inquiry : how does spiritual inquiry influence creative practice?

Author: Lewis Ryland

Course: MFA Creative Practice

Year: 2017

Keywords: Choreographic process, Choreographic research, Dance and Religion, Perception (Philosophy), Performance based research, Self-evaluation,


The spiritual practice of self-inquiry involves an archaeological excavation towards the centre of oneself, with an aim to answer the question, ‘Who am I?’ If art is a form of self-expression, then a shift in a person’s discernment of self will inevitably provoke a shift in the way that they create and respond to art.
The objective of this thesis is to critically analyse and evaluate the influence that self inquiry may have upon the researcher’s creative practice.

The creative methodology of the research was to generate a body of interdisciplinary, multimedia artwork that would intuitively grow and evolve in response to researcher’s ongoing spiritual development. This process was also supported by the critical analysis of many other artists and researchers that have participated in the discourse between spirituality and art.

An artistic conclusion of the research was the creation of a moving-image work that portrays the researcher’s pursuit of self-realisation. The practice of self-inquiry, pioneered by Ramana Maharshi, inspired the artist to engage in a continual process of interdisciplinary editing, in which many fragments from a wide scope of material were gradually interlaced to establish a narrative autoethnographic account of the researcher’s experiential exploration and findings.

Inspired by the researcher’s own encounter with the world, this tapestry of interwoven strands of recognition is used to comment upon the artist’s subjective experience of reality. By diversifying many different planes of perception in a multimedia format, the resulting film, The Periphery of Nowhere, attempts to reveal and reflect upon the harmonic inter-connectedness of all things.

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Ryland, Lewis. (2017). The art of self-inquiry : how does spiritual inquiry influence creative practice? (Masters’ theses). Retrieved