In Profile

In Profile: Shivananda Ackerman

Shivananda is an artist and designer who has worked with Sarita on many projects, including her latest book, Divine Sexuality and her CD covers. Here he talks about his life and work, creativity and spirituality and where he gets his inspiration from.
“The truth is that I felt very much an artist as a child, and I was lucky that I never stopped painting – it developed naturally for me from childhood. It was always something that I loved to do, and brought me joy.


In the late 70s, I was looking for happiness or inner peace in many different directions. At that point, just before I met Osho, I was desperate. One of my ideas was to go to the most beautiful places in the world, hoping to find more harmony and happiness. And I had to admit after sometime I was carrying myself wherever I was, so even though the outside was very beautiful and perfect, I was still unhappy. I asked existence to bring me to somebody or some place where I could be helped. I felt like I was guided to Osho. It was really like a miracle! I was on a train in India, looking out the window I saw the train station Pune. I had met some people from there in Goa, so I decided to go and visit them and jumped out and that was it!

When I came to the Ashram at that point, in 1978, it was bursting with creativity. There were all kinds of creative processes going on, including therapy, but also singing, dancing, painting, sculpting, and naturally I was very much drawn to that and touched by the way Osho approached these creative expressions. The freedom I experienced in that creativity, I had never felt before.
Creativity is for me not only the act of painting or singing, etc, it starts the moment I get up in the morning. It is how I get out of bed. How I walk to the bathroom, how I deal with a new day. So every act can have that creative expression, can have a creative input. If I just do it like a routine, that’s what dulls creativity, because we are not ready to experience or explore something new. Creativity is an act that’s including the whole of life! One of the greatest creative acts is to die or be sick in a creative way.
I always feel very inspired working with Sarita. I love the work she does, and also because she gives me the choice to explore something new and she acknowledges me and my art. I think naturally everybody is doubting their creativity, more than anybody else. To have somebody at your side who is saying yes, go for it, you are doing it right and feeling that love and emotional support is very helpful and such a nourishment.
The Shelter

Right now, I live in a very beautiful place in Corfu – blue sky, gorgeous flowers, beautiful people, and people they say to me, wow, this must be an incredible inspiration for you! But I never felt that way. I felt that the inspiration is always coming from inside. It’s from source, beyond my understanding and my thinking. And it has nothing to do with the outside situation. I think I could be in a room with no windows and be there all the time and I could be very creative and inspired. I think we all know this from when we do therapy. We start getting so inspired and all we have seen is a group room!”
Masterpiece from a painting workshop!

Sarita says: “Shivananda is my friend. He is also one of the most talented artists you could ever hope to meet. He has attained to that state of true mastery, where the sage becomes like a child. I did a weekend painting group with him, and was surprised to discover that even though we believed that we were simply playing and amusing ourselves the whole weekend, by the end of it, everyone walked away with a masterpiece tucked under their arm.
He is the designer of my book, Divine Sexuality, and has also done all my CD covers and other graphic work for the past 13 years. In addition to this, he is a marvellous musician. He can inspire a whole hall full of people to be up and dancing wonderful circle dances together in such an effortless and playful way, that even the most serious and doleful people cannot help but smile and laugh as they move to the tunes of joy flowing from his guitar.”
Shivananda is an artist, designer and facilitator, working throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. To find out more about his work and see some more of his wonderful creations, see his website or email him.

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