This is the question a friend asked me out of the blue.
‘Do you meditate?’
Left me speechless for a minute because I had to think about what exactly she meant by ‘meditation’.
I do not have an altar set up with candles and a statue symbolic of a faith. I do not sit cross legged in a darkened quiet room. I do not listen to guided meditation. I do not chant mantras or use prayer beads.
This is what most people might imagine when they think about the word ‘meditation’.
But doesn’t it really mean to focus your mind, shut out all the chatter, let go of all the business and thought racing, and silence your mind for a while?
This I do. In two ways.
One is to go for walks with my dog, preferably in the woods where we rarely meet other people. The scents of green and standing water and wet soil and hot sun on leaves and the surprising sweetness of a hidden flower. The sounds of birds and rustling leaves and my foot steps and the soft jingle of my dog’s tags. Brings my mind to rest and my eyes open to detect things I wouldn’t with all that monkey chatter in my head.
The second one is when I sit down with a spool of thread and a handful of pebbles and tie them into a piece of silk. When I stitch a pattern that changes from the original idea as I go because I see it differently now. When I chop up a head of red cabbage, put it in a big bowl with water to let it soak, and watch as almost immediately the color is being released and starts creating swirls and the color of the water changes from soft to dark pink. When I see how fabric in a dye bath deepens in color and takes on surprising shades sometimes. When I untie a shibori piece and the pattern slowly unfolds. When I sprinkle salt or drop alcohol onto wet silk paint and watch how the dye seems to be startled away and creates unpredictable markings and color flows.
These things are mesmerizing. All other thoughts disappear, and I only see colors and flow and feel the materials in my hands and the joy of creating something beautiful.
So my answer to my friend was: ‘Yes, I meditate.’
Does your art give you a similar feeling of relaxation and peace?
More Friday Facets here