At the risk of appearing silly, I confess that I adore coloring books. They represent a piece of childhood to which I unrepentantly grasp tightly – they have the same effect on me as a hot, buttery bowl of pastina. Such memories of a simpler time of pure joy bring warmth to my spirit these many years later. (Second confession: I had a big bowl of pastina last week and it tasted like a big hug from my Mom.)
But the marvels of coloring books don’t end there. I find coloring to be a mind-freeing experience. It occupies the wild monkey in my brain that threatens to derail my meditation practice. While Mr. Monkey Brain is busily scribbling between the lines and trying to decide if the next shape should be burnt umber or brick red, the rest of me focuses on meditating. When my meditation period ends, I have all the usual benefits of meditation. And a pretty picture to hang on my fridge.
Q: Why is this guy wasting my time talking about coloring books?
A: This guy apologizes if you think he’s wasting your time. I’m not always quick to the point. I am sorry. The point is this:
If it works for you, keep working it.
Why would you do otherwise? If you have found a routine that supports your meditation, and your meditation is helping you to live a mindful and fruitful life, praise be! Marvelous! Keep it up.
If you think it matters one iota to me that some people think I’m childish for playing with coloring books, think again. Darn tootin’ I’m childish! I’m also a practitioner of meditation for more than 25 years, in no small part because I’m willing to try new things (and old things, like coloring) and stick with them if they work for me. No matter what anyone else thinks. It’s my time on the cushion, not theirs.
So shake your groove thang. Lay on your back. Walk laps around the high school track. Mow the lawn. Juggle chainsaws. As long as it helps you to meditate well.
More food for thought:
The Zen of Adult Coloring Books
A Guide to Walking Meditation – Thich Nhat Hanh
*** Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@dharmabeginner) ***