Ah, at last we come to Z, and the end of a month of daily blogs as required for the April A-Z of Blogging Challenge. It certainly has been challenging at times too! Today’s letter is Z and surprisingly I had a couple for topics lined up for this one. The one that didn’t make it (this time) was a post on Zuni fetish carvings – beautiful art/ceremonial objects, usually animals, created by members of the Zuni tribe of the south west of America. I have a very small collection of four of these (all wolves because I have a connection to the wolf) and they have pride of place on my mantel piece. It’s also good to know that the makers of these carvings make a living from selling them. The only reason I didn’t write that post was because there was too much research to do in the time I had for me to do the subject justice.
So anyway, on to my other topic… Zen. And, more specifically, the Zen of crafting. So, in a nutshell, what is Zen? To define it strictly, it is a school of Mahayana Buddhism which emphasizes the practice of meditation through focus – especially on the breath. Any thoughts that arise during this meditation are acknowledged and then allowed to pass, like a drifting cloud. Since its origins, many forms of Zen practice have developed, some including chanting, or walking. The aim is to gain insight into the Buddha nature and then use that insight to help others.
In the modern Western culture Zen has also become a byword for having a state of focussed consciousness, of being absorbed so much in what you are doing that everything else ceases, for a while, to exist. This often brings about a state of extreme relaxation, or, in some cases, exhilaration. I know of many writers who drop into this Zen-like state when writing, or gardeners when they are outdoors with theit hands in the dirt. Time ceases to mean anything. All that there is, is what you are doing.
I experience such moments when I am crafting, especially when doing pyrography. It absorbs the whole of my attention and because of that, quiets the chatter in my head. I find that my breath slows and I do not feel hunger or tiredness. Once I have finished I have a sense of calm and also a feeling of happiness, that all is right with the world. I suppose it could also be termed ‘getting in the zone’. I would love to hear your experiences of Zenning out with something you do.