Be Like the Pencil

by phil on Thursday Aug 28, 2003 10:18 AM

I'm using a new technique in my sketches. They're abstract like my other sketches, but I've added a twist. My focus is now on the very minute movements of my pencil.

I hold the pencil down to the paper and wait. In this pause I resist the fighting urges to scribble and scrawl. I wait and wait until I feel that a certain purity of emotion comes from my heart into my hand. Once that begins, I let the pencil take its course until the passion fades.

The strokes are deliberately small, like 2-3 milimeters, almost like stipple drawing.

This process is slow, but the process is healing. Instead of the traditional imagine and slash sketching, we have a meditative form of drawing. This art process becomes a long kayak down the river of artistic evolution.

Observing the "mandala" emerge and grow over time is thrilling. It's like watching a community of insects coalesce in stop-motion capture photography.

Like many other art techniques, this same model of meditative growth can be applied to life. Why can't your life be more like the meditative pencil. Why can't you pause, and hold yourself down until you feel true passion enough to transition to the next step?

Last night I found myself, thoughts racing all over the place. I had two or three personal problems I was trying to wrap my finger around. (Here, let me hang my dirty clothes out): (1) I felt an upcoming tussle with my mom regarding my repeat decision to leave school (2) I have nobody to hang out with over Labor Day Weekend (3) I felt like I was wasting time solving problems but not really living life.

These three things were on my mind, and I was wrestling with them in a linear fashion. My mind would cycle between problem-restatements and hypothetical-solutions. I'd imagine, simulate, analyze, repeat, ultimately looking for the one solution that would work.

And then I remembered, "Be like the pencil." So I paused. I suspended my mental activities and embraced the moment. I resisted my urges to construct the next set of activity, and waited for my Passion to enter my mind and then choose for herself what she thought was the next best act.

Instead of thinking about my problems, my mind wandered toward some colorful reflections on the positive things that have been happening in my life. This continued peacefully until I was asleep and in dream state.

How much of your life and mindset is driven by a linear process? Do you find yourself always looking ahead at what is going to happen next? Are you always on the defensive-offensive, always on your toes, at the plate waiting to swing your bat?

Could you be satisfied with the infinitely wonderful now?

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