I suck at meditation, at least in the traditional sense. Forms I’ve tried involve watching thoughts like a waterfall without judgment, or counting breaths to try and empty the mind. The truth is I can’t sit still very long, and my main focus becomes the pain in my back. Not very monk-like.
Brian Johnson sold me on meditation is his class How to Meditate without Moving to the Himalayas. He explains that meditation strengthens your mind to help keep the inner gremlins at bay, which is essential for any creative work. Other benefits are increased self-esteem, empathy, trust, and it even improves memory.
So what’s a fidgety, inner-peace seeking artist to do?
I started connecting the dots from people’s reactions to my work. “You sewed those beads one at a time!? You must have so much patience!” To which my reaction is “Patience, yeah, right! You should see me in traffic. Beading is my zen.” Hmmm… I describe it as zen. I can focus for extended periods of time, and I know I’m in the flow. Beading in the morning leads to a happier day with less road rage. Sounds like meditation to me!
I knew I was on to something, but I judged it as not real meditation because it came so easily, so naturally.
Deepak Chopra says that the purpose of meditation is not to tune out, but to get in touch with it all. A way to get to the space between your thoughts, the space of infinite creativity and where you feel everything is connected to everything else. Infinite Creativity! Yes, please!
A friend reminded me of the Tibetan Monks and their creation of mandalas as a meditation. One can simply “google” mandalas and print one out to color, and have that serve as meditation. If I think both of those examples are meditation, then I can extend it to free writing, playing the piano, art journaling, taking a walk, and even dancing. All “active” ways at getting to the space between your thoughts.
So why do I suck at meditation? Because I didn’t see that sewing tiny little beads together, my bliss, as a “real” meditation, and thought it had to be hard. It doesn’t. On days I bead, there is definitely less road rage!
Is there something you already do that can serve as your meditation? Is there something you would like to start doing? Please share with us in the comments.