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Lions Roar : September 2018
I STARTED KNITTING WELL BEFORE I found a steady Zen practice. In fact, I feel that knitting set me up well for Zen. Well, maybe not for studying the philoso- phy of Dogen, but for zazen meditation anyway. Knitting is slow art. Zen is slow train- ing. In Zen, emphasis is placed on the JENNIFER URBAN-BROWN is an editor at Shambhala Publications/Roost Books. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and Boston Terrier. EDELRODRIGUEZ act of sitting rather than enlightenment, the end goal. In knitting, I can also place emphasis on the activity rather than the final product. While a finished knit- ted object is often (though not always!) something that brings a lot of joy, when my attention is placed on the process of creation rather than the final sweater or scarf, the experience is that much richer. Here are five ways that I’ve found my knitting practice—or any creative process—to be an extension of my Zen practice. 1. Find the Right Posture and Intention My knitting bag is like a portable zafu. Inside are yarn and needles and a uni- verse of possibilities. These creative tools—simple items made from bamboo and wool—have the same grounding quality as my meditation cushion. Taking the needles and yarn in hand, feeling the familiar warmth of each, is a reconnec- tion, much like finding one’s seat on the cushion. It’s a welcoming home. With needles in hands, my intention is set: I will use these tools to loop and HEART & MIND Zen Mind, Knitting Mind In the dharma of knitting, there is no past or present or future, says JENNIFER URBAN-BROWN. Without holding on to the promise of the finished object, loop yarn, pull through, breathe in, breathe out. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2018 15 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE