Thursday, October 8, 2009

Contemplative Knitting: Calming the "Monkey Mind"

by prayer bedes

If you are familiar with yoga practices, you are probably also familiar with the metaphor of the monkey mind. The monkey mind flits from tree to tree in a constant state of chatter. I have a theory that creative people are particularly prone to this state of mind as they find new ideas frequently emerging.

Maybe that is why I, and my own monkey mind, am drawn to contemplative practices to create balance in my life. I have also found that those practices can be applied to many repetitive actions.

I have always wished I was a "knitter." Yes, I have tried on a few occasions throughout my life to master the craft, but have only managed to accomplish creating long, narrow, inconsistent strips that were supposed to be scarves.

Whenever fall rolls around, I have thoughts that this might be the season I learn to knit. Somehow, fall creates a sense of nostalgia in me and I tend to be drawn to activities that are reminiscent of days gone by. I also tend to make to-do lists and attempt to return to more structure in my life after the free-form days of summer. I think I actually tend to make more resolutions in the fall than at the new year.

Okay, time to reign in the monkeys. I have somehow managed to flit to trees further away than I intended.

Knitting is a repetitive action, and many have found it a way in which to enter a state of meditation and contemplation. Google blogger, Wonderland Knits, reflects on a book called Zen and the Art of Knitting: Exploring the links between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity by Bernadette Murphy. She describes this state of contemplation as "'the zone' - that mental place where time looses structure, and the task at hand becomes the whole world." She goes on to say, "As a form of meditation, knitting can decrease one's heart rate, slow breathing, and have lasting positive effects on the body."

When I ran across this blog, Knitting &, I considered that for all these years I just might have been missing the point of knitting. My expectations were always to create something "useful", yet maybe it is just the process that is "useful" for me.


prayer bedes said...

I was wondering when this post would pop up. Seeing the Monkey Hair Snaps give-away, I could not help think of this post. Wouldn't those snaps be a great gift for a yoga enthusiast?! he-he :)

prayer bedes said...

I just looked. Jenna has the monkey hair snaps listed in her shop as well, if you don't want to take your chances with the give away.

krex said...

I am still trying to learn knitting but the simplest stitch eludes me . I find the same "zen" place when I do needle felting...feeling and hearing the needle go into the fiber is so soothing and feeling the fibers pull together and tighten, feels like a battle might want to give it a try .