Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Drawing and Mindfulness

Here is a little meditative exercise you can use whenever you need a "mindfulness break" during your day.

1. Take a pencil or pen and a piece of paper, and put them in front of you. Take a nice, deep breath.
2. Take your pencil, and begin - very slowly - to draw a line.
3. Let the line go wherever it wants - it may squiggle around, or go back and forth, or whatever.
4. Keep your eyes on the spot where the pencil meets the paper. Listen to the sound of the pencil moving over the surface.
5. Draw as slowly as you can. If your mind wanders, or if you start worrying about what the "whole" line looks like, just gently bring your attention back to the tip of the pencil.
6. Keep doing this for as long as you want. You can let your line cross itself, or fill up the paper, or go in little circles - just follow it along. You are not trying to "make" anything, just follow.

Once you've done this for a few minutes, you may find that your mind clears a bit and you feel physically better. You may also find that as you do this more, you'll be able to make longer and longer lines in one go.

The calls and beeps and blips from all of our various devices, accounts, friends, and emails chip away at our attention like a million little chisels.

To keep ourselves healthy, we need to specifically look after our minds and our attention.

Drawing is an excellent way to bring your mind into focus.

I am reading an excellent book right now, called "RAPT: Attention and the Focused Life" by Winifred Gallagher. I recommend it if you would like to read more about how your attention and focus determine your life experience.


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