International Vedic Art Teacher
& Teacher Trainer
Maryse Alen was born in Olen in Belgium. As a child, she spent many hours in the painting studio of her grandfather, who was a landscape artist. She was fascinated by the colours and their magical action on the canvas. One day, she made her first painting. Without giving it any thought, she simply selected the colours that called to her and started playing with light and form and colour. She let develop spontaneously what wanted to be born.
The world of colours was already well known to her for a special reason. Being born with a heart defect, she frequently found herself in an inner cosmos of colour when her heart "forgot to make contact." From very early on, painting became a way to express this space by uniting colour with light. She studied at an art academy and although she gained much in knowledge and skill, she quickly realized this was not the way she had to follow. Painting was so much more for her: as essential as eating or drinking. She couldn't not paint!
At the age of 31 , a diagnosis of her heart condition was at last made. Following heart surgery, her disappearing into the magical world of colours came to an end. Even if her internal colours remained strong and vivid in her paintings, the loss was very great. It was a time of deep sadness.
Then, though, came a phase in which her paintings taught her how to learn to truly live, rather than just survive. After this inner journeying, she ended up in Australia, where she landed with both feet firmly on the ground. She climbed the sacred ancient mountain of Gulaga. For the Aboriginal Australians, Gulaga means "Come Home": the mountain calls you, to come home inside yourself, inside your inner nature, using nature itself. From that moment she became aware of nature and of the creative power everywhere and deep in ourselves.
A year later she discovered Vedic Art and travelled to Sweden. Here she "came home". The circle was complete. Art and Life merged, becoming Life-Art. She started to teach Vedic Art in Kasterlee, Belgium and became coordinator for Belgium and the Netherlands. She now lives in Capileira.
She passed on the role of coordinator for Belgium and the Netherlands to concentrate on her new mission as International Vedic Art Teacher & Teacher Trainer. She organizes courses and trainings at her Centre in Spain and Teacher training in Belgium.
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Maryse's book about her life story is simple, powerful and moving. It tells how her experiences brought her to Vedic Art and how it changed her life completely.
The book is available in the original Dutch and is currently being translated into English.
In her own words (from a speech given in Sweden, 2019)
I am Maryse Alen, I was born in Belgium and I lived there until last year, when I moved to the south of Spain, to the beautiful mountains of Andalucia. When I wake up in the morning and see the sun coming up over the mountains, I often think, how could all this have happened? And then I can only smile... It all started when I discovered Vedic Art.
I remember that day very clearly. It was a cold winter's day in February 2011. I was sitting on my computer, looking for deeper experiences with painting—and there it was. When I read it, my heart started to beat fast from excitement. This was what I was waiting for all my life.
And no, I'm not making it bigger, it was just how it was and how it felt.
To explain why it had such an effect on me and why I had such a drive to go for it and to make it all happen later on, I will tell you a little bit of my story.
I was born with a heart defect and I lived with it until I was 31, because the doctors couldn't find what was wrong with me until then. Because of this condition, I had my first light experience when I was 6 years old. Being in my body was a very scary feeling, I didn't feel safe there, because it could fail at any moment. But suddenly, when I was six, I discovered that there was something else other than fear... I experienced so much love, freedom, light and joy... I didn't wanted to leave this place, but my body told me different: it wanted to survive and I came back.
I tried to talk about it with my parents, but they were so shocked that they didn't want to hear about it. So I never talked about it again. It became "my secret world," and it came to visit me over and over again.
When my heart failed, first of all I would be in complete darkness, but strangely enough I wasn't afraid of that darkness, it was so peaceful and still, it felt like I was embraced by the arms of the universe. I was in eternal space. It gave me such a safe feeling. And then, from a little point, colours came in, then the point became bigger and bigger until the vibration of black disappeared and I sensed the vibration of all colours. I became one with the vibrations, I became the colours and we were swirling around, higher and higher, and at the end there was this bright light... I felt so much love and freedom and joy... I was almost there and then... my body called me back, it was all over and from the biggest love I went into the biggest fear and pain again.
I always thought that this "secret world" was a place outside of me. I didn't connect it with myself. When I grew up I started to paint, played music and wrote, to be able to find a way to survive and to express my feelings.
When finally a doctor was able to diagnose my disease, I was already 31 years old. He said it was a miracle that I was still alive. But he had good news. I could have an operation and I would be completely healthy afterwards.
Of course I was very happy, but at the same time also worried... What about my secret world? Would I never experience that kind of love and freedom anymore?
During my operation, they had to stop my heart for a moment and there I had my last present. I had a last big visit to my secret world and it was like I was filled up with knowledge at the same time, the intensity of it cannot be described in words... and then I woke up in intensive care.
Back home I didn't know how to continue. My experiences of peace and joy amidst the light-and-colour phenomena had stopped. I missed them deeply and my body wasn't used to being healthy yet. I didn't know how to live and I forgot all about the knowledge. I couldn't reach it anymore.
I was never afraid of the dark or the light, but I was very afraid of the grey colour where I had ended up. All I had was fear.
The colours had gone, even in my paintings, I couldn't play music anymore. I didn't have any idea how to get out of it. My heart was mended, but I was slowly dying inside.
One evening, I wrote on a little piece of paper:
"Is there any possibility to live here and now, with the same intensity, with the same love, with the same freedom, with the same joy and from the same light, that I experienced in my secret world?"
That night I had a dream. It explained how it was going to happen. I woke up and wanted to write my dream down, but instead of words, little drawings appeared on my paper, so fast that I could barely follow my own hand. Afterwards I needed colours and I started to paint it all out. While painting, without thinking and just following my hand, new things came up and I made contact with the deep knowledge again.
At that moment I had this big insight that the secret world was in me, it wasn't a world outside of me. I was laughing and crying and crying and laughing. I felt the light, the freedom, the love, the joy... it was all there... through colours again, and here and now!
I started to paint again and in this new way of painting, I could at last integrate what I had experienced so many times. To begin with, I could do it only in the energy generated by painting. It took me years to integrate the experiences in my body and start to trust it, to let go the fear.
I found books about other people's near-death experiences of light and I discovered that I was not alone. Reading about this was very healing for a while, but then I stopped because I couldn't find anywhere how you had to go from there... and I discovered that having the experience was just the first step in the journey.
In the following years I learned a very big lesson. I had to let go of the past and start to live.
I found a quotation by Voltaire: "J'ai décidé d'être heureux parce que c'est bien pour la santé".
That was exactly what I wanted to do: awake in happiness! So I made a little painting of it and placed it in a very visible place so I wouldn't forget it.
I just read a book by the author Jack Kornfield who says it just right: we can't retire in enlightenment. After the ecstasy, we have to do the laundry. I had to come down, otherwise I would never be able to live.
A year later I found myself in Australia, where I climbed the mountain: Gulaga. This mountain is a spiritual mountain for the Aboriginals. Gulaga means: "Come home". Come home in your inner nature by means of the outer nature. Gulaga is for them also the mountain of creation.
When I came back from this journey, it was time for action, to manifest. I decided to write a book called "Colours to freedom", because I didn't want to be silent anymore. Although it was still scary to do it, this time the fear didn't win anymore. I started to organize painting workshops but there was something missing. I wanted more. I wanted to go deeper—there was so much more.
And then, on that winter's day in 2011, I discovered Vedic Art. Every word that I was reading resonated in me and I signed up immediately to go to Öland. To receive the principles was the greatest gift ever! Finally there was a language, finally there was a way to go in the process, step by step in my own rhythm. I couldn't be more grateful and I couldn't be more happy.
I knew from the very first moment that this was what I wanted to to do for the rest of my life, never ever I was so sure of something and I wanted to go for it with everything I had to make it happen.
After one year of offering foundation courses, I went to Öland again, painting in the barns, following courses from different teachers, being in nature and completely diving in my process. That summer my paintings were all about freedom and expansion and I knew I had to expand in life as well. I would need a bigger studio for my courses if I wanted to go for it completely-
The first day I arrived home from Sweden, I found on the internet on old farm for rent in the countryside. I went to have a look and immediately I knew that this was the place that I needed.
There were a lot of people visiting the place but I went directly to the estate agent, who was standing in the garden and said to him with a big smile: "This place is for me!" One day later I had a phone call: yes, the place was mine.
I decided to quit my job as a teacher. It was a risk because I lived on my own but my heart and soul couldn’t wait any longer to follow my dharma. I turned the farm into an art studio.
Again I was alone in this adventure because none of my family or friends believed I could make it happen. But this time I felt so strong inside. No one could change my mind. And, after a while, my friends, new friends and my mother started to support me in my journey.
That year I was very busy making it all happen, because Vedic Art was completely unknown in Belgium and Holland: a website, publicity and interviews, newspapers and magazines, flyers, an open house with an exhibition and finishing my book "Colours to Freedom", which told the complete story of my life and how I found Vedic Art. At the same time I organized basic and continuation courses.
That year, 2014, I couldn’t go to Öland, because my courses were fully booked the whole summer! From that moment, I gave courses every week, almost non-stop for a whole year.
Because I had also followed a Teacher Training for children, I organized family courses as well, which was such a pleasure for me because I had worked as a teacher for many years. I loved the children, but the school system in which I was working made me very unhappy. I saw too many children suffer. Doing Vedic Art with children is so great, to see how they enjoy the freedom, how they open up!
Meanwhile, I found a publisher for my book and soon my book was on the market. Now we are working on a translation in English.
In the summer of 2015, I decided to go back to Öland, even if it was just for a week. By going into the process again, my personal development deepened and at the same time, my teachings became deeper as well.. Day by day, step by step, it's a never-ending process. I wanted to put myself repeatedly in the oven of the process until my whole being would be cooked, matured and transformed.*
When giving courses, I feel myself completely in the present, living in the moment, passing on the principles, telling the stories... being there when people want to have a talk about their painting or about emotions coming up, laughing or crying. Sharing the enthusiasm when something unexpected appears in the painting, creating a space where everyone feels free and safe. I love it all.
The moment I love the most is when it gets completely still in the studio and everyone is in their painting process. You feel the energy of creation in the air. Those are the most magical moments.
I see so many beautiful transformations during the courses and afterwards, when people come back for another course or to repeat a course. Lots of things have been happening in their lives. The small steps or the big steps, they give so much joy.
Just being there, and being witness to the process of awakening, makes me humble and grateful.
I became coordinator for Belgium and the Netherlands and was allowed to give Teacher Training. That was my new challenge. I was allowed to make it happen: to spread Vedic Art in those countries more and more by training teachers.
In January 2016 I travelled to the south of Spain to visit a friend who lives there. I fell completely and immediately in love with the mountains of Andalucia. One day, on one of my walks, I discovered a very powerful place, an open circle surrounded by the mountains. I was overwhelmed… I had tears in my eyes… I experienced a moment of unity—and I knew I had something to do here. I walked further up the path and met a man, working in his garden. We started to talk. We saw each other again the next day and then I had to go to Belgium.
We kept in contact. He knew a perfect place where I could give summer retreats—and it was walking distance from that beautiful place.
That is how my adventure in Andalucia started.
That autumn, I gave my first retreat there and returned to give more during the next 3 years.
I travelled a lot back and forth between Belgium and Spain during that time because of the retreats but also, through time and space I fell in love with the man I found in his garden one day...
After giving more courses in Belgium, including international courses with people from Germany, England, Denmark, even America and Australia, I organized a group from Belgium to go to India, where we had a Vedic Art retreat, with a Swedish teacher, Nina Jacucci. That was an adventure and a deep journey.
I eventually decided to make a big leap: to live in Spain, in the mountains, with my love.
We found a beautiful house in Capileira, a very cozy, authentic little village in Andalucia. The house has a big garden with three levels and a painting studio and a fabulous view of the mountains.
That is where I live now and where I 'm starting up Vedic Art up again. My new mission is as an International Teacher, spreading Vedic Art in Spain and for everyone who wants to come for a training or a course at my Vedic Art Centre and garden studio in Capileira. I now give all the courses in Dutch and English.
That is what Vedic Art gave me. I feel that I can surrender to life and live it to the full!
And this is the message and the energy that I like to bring to my courses.
* Quotation from Jack Kornfield's "After the ecstasy, the laundry."