July 24th, 2013
I remember the first time that I tried formal meditation. I sat amidst a group of compassionate people with closed eyes who were letting go of all thoughts, focusing attention on their breath. I felt no compassion for myself as my monkey mind skittered about. I felt self-conscious about my constant twitching and resituating, certain I was irritating the peaceful beings around me. More than that, I simply didn’t enjoy the experience. My anxious mind raced into terrifyingly uncomfortable places. I left feeling that meditation is a great thing…for other people but not for me! Then I found crochet.
Crochet offers a chance to meditate in a way that many people find easier than sitting still in a room and focusing on the breath. Crochet is a relaxing, repetitive craft that can be done as a means to mindfulness. The combination of constant counting, gentle recurrent hand motions and focus on the work is a stress-reducer and a path to being present in the here-and-now.
Want to practice crochet as a form of meditation? Here are some tips:
- Choose a project that requires only beginner skills, like a large granny square or a scarf made of only single crochet stitches.
- Select a project that offers comfort in counting. For example, a scarf will let you count the same number of stitches again and again in each row.
- Use a yarn color that feels comforting.
- Work in a quiet, relaxed space.
- Set an intention. At the beginning and end of the crochet project remind yourself what it is you want to achieve with meditative crochet. Celebrate the craft and celebrate yourself.
There is certainly something valuable to be found in formal meditation. However, it doesn’t work for all of us. In particular, people with mental health conditions including depression and anxiety may find it too difficult to simply sit on the cushion and watch the breath. We can use mindfulness crochet instead to bring ourselves back to the present moment, practicing compassion for ourselves and for others with each stitch.
What has been your meditation experience? How does crochet help?