Introducing #MindfulMonday on the blog, where we aim to provide our readers with a little dose of zen to start each week, excerpted from David Schiller’s See Your Way to Mindfulness. This week, use drawing to open up your eye and reacquaint yourself with the familiar.
Blind contour drawing is a classic beginner’s exercise that leads to surprising results. The setup is simple: Sit at a table with your pencil hovering over a large blank sheet of paper. Hold the pencil in one hand and curl your other hand into a fist or another interesting shape. Study the shape and begin, very slowly, to draw what you see. This should take at least 20 minutes. Look at every millimeter of your hand, but don’t look at your sketch. When your eye follows a complex wrinkle, for example, the pencil should be recording it like the stylus on an EKG or lie detector. Follow the curve of every knuckle, the line of every wrinkle. Only when you feel you’ve examined every part of your hand should you look at your drawing. Its little squiggles and lines will be full of life.
About the Book:
Seeing, really seeing, is like meditation. In a world filled with distraction, seeing mindfully is a way to pay attention, to hit pause and find calm by focusing on what’s directly in front of us. See Your Way to Mindfulness is a gift book of inspiration and instruction to help readers open their eyes—and their “I’s.” Written by David Schiller, author of the national bestseller The Little Zen Companion, it’s a collection of quotes, prompts, exercises, meditations—married with photographs and drawings that bring the words to life.
The quotes are from artists, Buddhists, philosophers, poets, and more, all centered on the theme of how “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” (Marcel Proust). The short, playful exercises and prompts—like Seeing in the Rain, Eye Spy with My Open I, Spend 30 Minutes Taking a Five-Minute Walk, Get Lost—are designed to disrupt routine and inspire readers to see for themselves. Some of the exercises involve drawing, writing, and taking photographs, opening a path to creativity as well as showing how to engage in the moment.
Think of it as the Zen of seeing—a new way to look at the world afresh and rediscover joy in the everyday.