I’ve tried many ways. I delight in “Seeing-Drawing”, the wonderful meditative practice I learned from Frederick Franck on one of his retreats and also from his classic The Zen of Seeing. I’ve tried just about every form of visual poetry: color, tone, texture. They have all been effective to a degree. Frederick Franck used to assert that the inexpressible was the only thing worth expressing. I took this statement as a koan as I explored ways to express that ineffable quietude.
It wasn’t until my practice distilled down to the essential life-tide of beingness that I approached real stillness, real quietude.
One soft succulent dawn in India I asked myself, “How would I express that which is most fundamental to my life?
What would that look like?
Breathe in. Breathe out and let a line flow… and again, and again, again.
I drew my breath.
That was how it began – by just putting down a simple horizontal line every time I exhaled. On the inhalation I paused; returned to my palette.
The line drawn, or painted, was as long as the out-breath, or as long as the paint in the brush lasted.
It didn’t take long for the breath to take over. As I gave myself over more freely and openly to its movement, it rose up and wrapped itself around me. It picked me up and melted me into its rhythm.
I had entered breath’s temple of quietude and I was nowhere to be found.
There was only this breath-breathing Beingness.