Meditate With A Pen

Learn how to meditate on paper. Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. –Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

Meditation comes to us in many forms. Today many, at the behest of their therapists, are using iPhone or Android apps that are essentially guided meditations leading toward mindfulness. And, hopefully, calm.

The Hebrew Bible, especially in the Psalms, tells us about meditating on God’s word. An excellent starting point.

Some traditions teach focusing on breath and totally emptying the mind in order to sit in perfect tranquility until God’s voice breaks through the “cloud of unknowing” and we receive some enlightenment.

Zen koans are an amazing way to “blow your mind” as you sit contemplating a totally nonsense phrase–“what is the sound of one hand clapping” or “if a tree falls in the forest with no one around, does it make a noise”?

Merton suggests at times sitting with a notebook. The size I find most handy to carry around it the approximately 5.5″ x 8.5″ Moleskin-type. Some people carry smaller ones that fit in a pocket–useful if you are on a walk. Some like the 8.5″ x 11″ (A4) size for the freedom that additional space gives.

Stealing a thought from a section of a book, Drawing Like Da Vinci, don’t worry about making a perfect drawing. You’ll learn from sketching and observation how to approximate shapes and combinations.

A part of my daily meditation is sitting down with this laptop, attempting to clear my mind, filtering through a hundred thoughts to focus on one–which often morphs during the writing. Then I type. I try to be the Enneagram 5–observer/investigator that is my dominant response to life (thank you mom and dad). But at times the frustrations and angst of a type 4 (my very strong wing) creep in and I have the ability to get other people’s emotion stirred.

Sit with a notebook, make sketches of your thoughts, jot notes of thoughts that visit, you’ll arrive at new insights and perhaps even new directions for your life.

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