Meditation is hard for me. I’m not good at sitting still. I’m not particularly good at walking mindfully. What I do best is be in nature. Want someone to watch birds with? I’m your girl. Sit and watch a mountain breathe? Sounds great. But sit on my butt on a cushion/ a chair/ a zafu? Hmmm…
So I have to trick my monkey mind . I’m a firm believer in what Thich Nhat Hanh says about washing the dishes: just wash the dishes. Don’t anticipate dessert, he admonishes — just wash the dishes. It’s the same with being still: just be still. Focus.
So when I go places, if I can, I draw. Badly, but I still draw . This weekend, I sat in a white rocker on a turn-of-the-century (1886 ) balcony and drew. With a pencil. In a new art journal. The first drawing, still unfinished. And I was still. Sure, my hand moved — my thumb, the measure of which divided my page into fourths, and the larger tree into thirds, fluttered above the page like a pale moth. But my monkey mind settled, drawn into the drawing…focused on the cross-hatching that isn’t at all like coniferous needles, and the scribblings that aren’t quite leaves .
This is one of my favourite meditations: being outside, watching a tree dance with light and shadow, or a mountain play canvas to the painting of sunlight across its slopes. I can sit still for an hour in front of Mt. Hood, for instance, and I have the bad art to prove it . Like I can sit on the deck, and follow a bird through the trees, on to a feeder, then back into the tree above. The heart of focus: staying the mind on an object outside itself. Letting go.
The art may not be good, but the stillness is ~