It’s tough to watch the news these days. I want to be informed, but at the same time, it’s just terribly depressing. I don’t have to list the reasons why; you’re either watching the news and you know, or you’ve had to turn away from the news because it’s just too much.
At times like that, it can be difficult to meditate. I start thinking about everything that’s going on. Meditation is not about clearing your mind like a blank slate (I share a swami’s secret about meditation in Yoga Mind), but troubling thoughts can come up and turn something that’s supposed to be relaxing into yet another source of trouble.
This is why I started thinking about Creative Meditation. We all need to meditate, but usually the idea of meditation is sitting cross-legged and chanting or repeating a Mantra with beads. These are great types of meditation. When my thoughts are just too agitated, though, I look to Creative Meditation.
This is a form of Dharana, the Yoga tool of focus. This is what Yogis describe as the beginning stages of meditation, where you’re just starting to tune out everything other than your object of meditation. Usually that’s a Mantra, or an image, or some other point of focus.
But why can’t that point of focus be an activity? We all know the feeling of doing something that so completely absorbs our interest that we become one with the action. For me, it usually happens when I’m doing something with my hands and I have to concentrate. My most recent and successful experience with this has been with knitting.
Once I got the hang of the basic stitches, I was able to just train my focus on the repetitive action of making them. Over a few months of doing this, I became aware that if I was knitting when it was quiet, as opposed to while watching a movie with my hubbins, my thoughts receded to the background. They were still there, but kind of like a radio on low. I was aware of them but not involved with them.
There are many benefits to knitting, and a whole book about Therapeutic Knitting and how it can help people get through illnesses and depression, and help people who are well feel even better. For me, knitting is a form of Creative Meditation. It has become a refuge where I can deal with what’s going on in the world, and in my interior world, without upsetting myself or becoming agitated by thinking I “can’t meditate.”
What’s your refuge, divine lights?
For materials and pattern to make this adorable big blanket (kitty not included), visit Ohhio on Etsy.
Find the meditation method that works best for you in Yoga Mind: Journey Beyond the Physical.