Friday, 6 August 2010

A question about Zen and knitting.

"So how is knitting and all that stuff you do got anything to do with the Zen melarky?" Was a question asked by a fellow knit night attendee this week..

Philosophically, Zen is the Buddhist tradition which is not dependent on texts.  In Zen theology, enlightenment comes through self-realisation in Dharma practice and meditation. I am not Buddhist but I respect the teachings of this and other religious groups. In my little world, I attempt to find transcendent wisdom (prajna) though creative activities where I am focusing on creation rather than the anarchy of my chaotic life.
Islamic tile work
another form of meditation

This blog was started as a means of self accountability to keep me on the challenge that I set myself in 2009. My challenge was making 52 things in 52 weeks and thus addressing my   workaholic issues.

As a workaholic,
I often didn't see
the wood (or bird)
for the trees
Yes I am a reforming workaholic, I have been reforming for years but I like any addict I can and do relapse. I am also a mother who has teenage children so I use some of my creativity on a regular basis to deal with trials and tribulation that comes from family life. I had noticed in 2008 that I was slipping back into the abyss of 100+ hours working weeks.  Been there, done that and don't like the person I am when I am demonstrating the worst of my workaholic behaviour.

The waves of life.
Between work, teenagers, hubby and everything else I have a somewhat insanely crazy mixed up life that many working parents find themselves lumbered with. As a creative person I find that often my creativity and my desire to make items is overcome by my need to meet my responsibilities. I am often frustrated by how my responsibilities require me to stop a creative endeavour or impact on my ability to even start a creative piece.

One day I will visit this Zen Garden.
Ryoan-ji, Kyoto, Japan
So by focusing on the practice of creation I am attempting to undertake a form of dhama practice in my daily life and some of the activities such as knitting and spinning are a form of meditation. When you spin or have a piece of knitting that is simple and repetitive in action you will find that your breathing will slow and a calm will descend. There is academic literature that states that a repetitive activity like knitting can lower patient's blood pressure. Thus by creating each day and using my forms of meditation that being knitting, crochet and spinning I am working my way to enlightenment or the ultimate transcendent wisdom.

Sorry if this was a little deep and esoteric but I had been asked so I thought at least one of my readers would be interested in the answer.