Talking Spirituality with Artist Obray Cowan
Obray Cowan is the owner of two successful businesses that enable him to share his artistic talents with the world, ArtbyO and Dermal Designz. ArtbyO hosts an assortment of items for sale, like leggings, stickers and t-shirts, with Obray’s favorite pieces—it is also the home of best-selling coloring book Coloring With ArtbyO, available in paperback and smartphone applications. Dermal Designz is his tattoo and art studio in Cornelius, NC—drop in for some body art or just to say hello!
One thing that sets this gifted artist apart is his self-awareness and spirituality. Today he shared his spiritual path, current practices and tips on how to start your own spiritual journey.
So, how did your spiritual journey start? Did you start in a religion?
I grew up like many people in traditional religion; we were Christian. But the beautiful thing about that was my mom; she was delving deeper into her spirituality and introduced it to me. One of my fondest memories, outside of contemporary religion, was when I was six or eight. We were at a waterfall in the mountains, and I was burning sage for my mom while she meditated. Around this time, I also remember being introduced to a metaphysical, spiritual store called Rainbow Path and buying crystals and stones.
Later in college, studying animation at Full Sail University, I spent a lot of time just with myself. I had friends and stuff, but definitely, a lot of time was spent by myself to delve into those realms and take what I learned throughout the years, and put it more or less into practice, and go deeper into practice, which then, I was a baby, and I'm still a baby; we're all works in progress. But I'm grateful that I was able to cultivate my spirituality at that age because it helped me get through and understand what I am really here for.
I used to experiment with so many different things to help me get to different places, but a difficult breakup at 26 was actually the best thing that happened to me, transforming my life. I was going through pain, and I had to channel that into a facet or outlet. And, you know, that outlet was what I already had; it was just tapping into who I already was and shining that light within me. It’s incredible how receptive every person has been because of my spiritual work and what I've done. So that just fuels the fire. And I want to continue to create and be of service, to help other people who may feel lost, no matter if it's a breakup or whatever it is; you're not alone. We all go through stuff; let's move through it together.
Did you have a spiritual mentor?
Each and every person that I meet is my mentor. Everyone is somebody I can learn from initially; it was my mom who had really cool spiritual teachers. But after that, I never really sought after people; it was more like different people and circumstances just kind of appeared in my life. Those interactions impacted me to navigate and move the way that I did. And for that, I honor each and every person with that same respect.
What does your spirituality look like today?
I meditate every morning for at least an hour and do a lot of breathwork. I have my stones, my crystal grids, all that cool stuff; I speak my affirmations and, more or less, wake up with intent and have an intentional day as opposed to letting things fly all willy-nilly. I'm very intentional with my energy and with my day, and with my interactions with people as well. I want people to feel that the energy that I'm putting out is from the deepest and sincerest place within myself.
I have deep gratitude for positively contributing to the lives of others through my awareness and authenticity. And I approach people without judgment because it's easy to cast judgment on things, especially things we don't “understand.” But from the place I am now, the more you just love and stay open and receptive, the more you see how we're all the same. Everybody just wants to be received at the end of the day. And if you receive a person, that doesn't mean you have to agree with them. It's not about that. It's just about being in a place of receptiveness. And people appreciate that more than anything.
Overall, my spirituality is about being of service to the world and myself. How can I lead the most positive and constructive life for myself and others each day?
What are some of your favorite affirmations?
I am alive, I am healthy, I am loving. I am caring, I am compassionate, I am a beautiful person, I am open. There are so many, I could go all day. But, just to speak and hear yourself speak words of love, because that’s where it starts, with loving yourself. You can only love as deep as you love yourself, and you can only give as deep as you give to yourself. So, that's my motto, goal and personal practice, which has blessed and aided in my life. And I see it like, I'm a testament of it, every single day.
What tips might you give people struggling to find their own spirituality?
First, pull away from vices and crutches that only serve as an escape and look within — because it's amazing when you follow who you are and honor who you are. And most importantly, love yourself because you can't pour from an empty cup.
Next, meditate; you can sit down and be with yourself for five minutes. Just do absolutely nothing and sit there. Even when I first started, I was like; I don't know what I'm doing — all these thoughts going on in my head, I'm like, I'm not really supposed to sit here. And it turned out to be just like anything else; lifting weights, riding a bike, it's a habit. And it becomes a lifestyle once you do it enough.