I don't intend for knitting meditation to be the only form of meditation in my life. Centuries of meditators have it right that sitting with nothing — no movement, no runaway thought-train — coming between our consciousness and the fact of our existence is the best way to face that often puzzling existence with courage. But as a sort of adjunct practice, knitting meditation is a chance to combine a feeling of trance and deep focus with a sensory experience that is pleasing and multilayered.
In looking up other examples of knitting meditation before I started this blog, I found a lovely video on YouTube about a woman who makes a daily practice of getting up and knitting a "seeds of intention" scarf: "I take out my needles and my yarn and I knit good intentions and affirmations into every stitch. I feel peace around me and within me... I call this project my seeds of intention scarf. It's a kind of tactile prayer I get involved in."
Not long after finding this video, I read a Daily Dharma from Tricycle Magazine that echoed this in a nice coincidence of language: "...we meditate on our good intentions, however weak or strong they may be, and water the seeds of these intentions."
Mindfulness practice urges nonattachment — to things, concepts and beliefs — but we live in a material world, and lovingkindness toward that material world is part of a mindful and grateful approach to having life in this moment. Knitting is a great way to focus on the beauty and life-givingness of the materials around us. It's not easy being human — we're soft and vulnerable in a world with many hazards and we've had to be ingenious in using materials to literally keep us alive. I love knitting as an expression of this. It's low-tech, but knitted garments keep us warm; in their beauty they please us and others and remind us of the loving intentions of the knitter, stitch by stitch, breath by breath.
Sensory and Other Pleasures