Mindfulness meditation has scored the most points so far. Colouring in? Just another stressful task where you have to stay inside the lines. Writing? Either frustrating or extremely satisfying, but always exhausting and again, you have to stay either inside the lines or between them.
Art? Now you’re getting closer. But unlike meditation, it isn’t always practical to pull out your paint box and let your mind drift away while you get down and dirty. A sketchbook might be slightly easier and more tolerated in polite conversation, but people straining to see what you’re drawing or commenting on your skills (or lack thereof) is not the type of meditative getaway I am looking for.
But then… The answer dropped gently into my hands like the stray feather of a passing bird.
Continuous line drawing is usually used as a method to improve observational drawing skills. The idea is to put your pen or pencil to paper and never take it off while you’re doing the drawing. Your drawing grows out of one continuous line that never breaks. It is a wonderful exercise and relaxing in its own right. But here’s another way – continuous line meditation.
Follow the rules of continuous line drawing, i.e. keep going with one continuous line without lifting your pen or pencil from the paper. But add this: Go slowly. Draw at a wandering pace of about one centimetre for every two seconds. If you have an audible ticking clock at hand, even better. Let it be your metronome.
Don’t try to draw something. Wander the page like an amoeba, like a caterpillar, like a snail among leaf litter. Let your mind go. Roam, stroll, meander, this way and that. Tarry in a corner, smell the roses, follow the trill of a butterfly’s wing. Fill the page with the resonances of your heart in one continuous unravelling. Aaah…
Now take another colour and wander the same page. And if you really feel like colouring in your drawing, well, be my guest. You don’t even have to stay between the lines.