Saturday, August 2, 2008

Regaining the Mind Through Knitting

In a meek effort to reset my mindset and focus my attention on regaining 'me', I thought I'd take a little path down the Buddha knitting trail. The book, Mindful Knitting speaks of paralleling Buddhism with knitting. Although I'm not a follower I do believe the religion has some good qualities.

Before I go on to offend everyone and anyone who might be reading this, I should make a few clarifying statements. I was born and raised a Catholic. I fell from the graces of the Catholic church during my whole tumor ordeal. I still claim to be a Catholic, just an nonpracticing Catholic. I'm not interested in having people tell me about what I should and/or should not believe in. I don't try to tell others where their religious beliefs should lye, so don't tell me about mine. What I do believe is that people should be the best that they know how to be, and celebrate life however it is that makes them happy and that they believe they should celebrate it.

I was drawn to read this book because of it's mentioning of meditation. Knitting can be such a meditative state. A place and time to contemplate whatever it is that is ailing you. I've heard that the powers of meditation can do wonders for stress. But I have found that I've never been quite good a the whole 'uuummmm' sort of meditation. I've heard other knitters talk about their knitting as meditative, but I don't always find that. For me it's been something to do with my hands. A beautiful hobby and an outlet for my creativity. When my mind is troubled, knitting doesn't help me to think clearer.

This book talks about how to get to that place with your knitting. How to find a meditative state within the practice of knitting. It compares knitting to the teachings the author grew up with.

And even offers 10 projects to practice your meditation exercises through knitting. Most of the patterns are simple and truly mindless, allowing you to focus on what's going on inside your own head. There was one pattern in there that spoke to me. And hopefully will help my mind to speak to itself as well. With some bamboo I recently acquired, it is making for a very enjoyable project. And lusciously soft to boot. What a project for a wounded soul.


IrishgirlieKnits said...

I hope the book helps you find that meditative quality to knitting. I find for me that it depends on the project. If its a complicated project or pattern, not so easy. But if its an easy pattern or a bit mindless, I find my knitting to be very meditative (or at times, I just fall asleep!). The scarf is lovely too!

Virtuous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Virtuous said...

*edit* Had to delete the last comment it has so many typos in it!! Shish! I need to slow down and edit!

Isn't it wonderful how you can always find what you need when you need it!

I am with IrishG as well. It depends on the project on when I can just relax and begin going thru my thoughts. The more complicated it is the less likely I am thinking on good things!

But I do pray during some of my knitting and particularly if it is a gift or charity item for others.

Hope this current project will put some things at ease for you!

sophanne said...

I have ventured into that book as well. It is my opinion that Buddhism is a way of living and religion is a belief. I think they're compatible.

From what I read in the book, the trick to mindfulness is to be aware- regardless of the pattern or the knit. Just to be aware. Good luck and I hope to hear more about your experience.

Dee said...

I used to watch TV or listen to music while I knit. But, I decided to turn off the distractions and focus my mind on the one thing --- the knitting.

It was very relaxing to focus that way and make every stitch "just so". I found myself physically slowing every time I sat to knit. I KNOW that has to be good for the body.

Rachel said...

I'd be interested in hearing more about using this book to make your knitting more meditative. It's pretty fascinating to me, and I do hope that it helps you start regaining some mental peace.

I also like both the stitch pattern and the color of the scarf you are working with. Nice!

Channon said...

Off to order that book. You already know how similar our faith backgrounds are, and I've long called knitting my therapy. I'm very curious about a mindful approach to knitting as meditation, rather than just using it as a distraction!