Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Monday, 28 March 2011


Morris Waits for Spring by the Kitchen Heat Register
It's another cold, blustery day on the prairies.  The windchill hovers around  minus 20C, bitterly cold for the time of year.  I'm finding this weather really difficult.  I want to be out walking in crisp, early  spring air, but the icy roads and sidewalks are treacherous.  Each step requires care and attention.  I prefer to ramble. 

I'm working through the frustration by making an effort to turn my walks into mindful meditation.  This is a wise idea, if only because I don't want to fall on my rear end, but, sometimes, I just wish spring would arrive!

Meditation uses the tools and resources we have on hand to help us become aware in the world.  Some practices focus on candles, statues or other objects to help us concentrate.  Ideally, we move beyond these objects as our practice develops, but initially, meditating on "something" helps us with one-pointed concentration.

The tools I use in spinning meditation are simple-a spindle, some fibres and a quiet place to sit.  (Now that I've practised for some time, I can manage without the quiet space, but I do enjoy silence when I can get it.)

For formal practice, I sit on the floor, on my mat, as comfortably as possible, with my spine straight and in line with the crown of my head.  Sitting this way keeps me awake and aware.  If you have limitations that make this posture difficult, practice in any comfortable position, including lying down.

One popular adaption of object meditation is food meditation, with chocolate being a popular selection.  This meditation encourages you to savour a small portion of food, taking the time to notice the feel, the smells, the tastes and other sensations you experience while eating as slowly as possible.  Five minutes spent in meditation on chocolate can seem a very long time, especially if, like me, you anticipate the next bite before you've finished the first one. 

An equivalent spinning meditation is mindful fibre meditation.  Begin by selecting a handful of fibre-raw fleece is best.  Sit comfortably.  Close your eyes.  Rub the fleece in your hands, along your arms, anywhere on your body.  Pay attention to the different sensations as the fleece touches different places.  Smell your fibre.  Hold it to your ear-can you hear it?  Taste the fibre if you can do so safely.  Spend several minutes allowing your other senses to experience your fibre before you slowly open your eyes and look at the fibre.  What do you see?

Make a non-judgemental note of the time you spent on this meditation.  Did you manage five minutes?

For all the time we spend spinning, it's amazing that many people don't take a moment to experience the fibres which form our yarns.  We want to get to the yarn, to the knitting, weaving, crocheting, to the next step and the next.  By rushing through, we can miss the process entirely.

Slowing down is a very simple practice, but sometimes, so difficult.


  1. I am very tired of this weather too.

    I find your meditation posts very interesting. I think that I like processing raw fleece because of the multi-sensory pleasure involved in all the stages. Although I haven't formally meditated, I practice mindfulness when possible.

  2. Thanks, Susan. I tend to rush through things. Paying attention to each step increases my enjoyment of the entire process.

    I am finding it difficult to enjoy each step of this weather system, though!