Here marks a creative break, a spiritual tangent if you will. I have been wanting to explore the art of meditative drawing. I realize this is really nothing new, for drawing has long been associated with spiritual thought and practice. However, I really believe there is something in this for contemporary life which is so fast and yet so image laden. So I’m taking a month to walk this tangent slowly to see where it leads. Below is the framework of my exploration.
Meditating with Christ – Exploring the Practice of Sketching with the Scriptures
I believe that engaging and praying with the scriptures through drawing can open up a whole raft of spiritually formative meditation. With this belief in mind I want to explore the practice of ‘Pictio Divina’ over the period of one month to see what it looks like in an ordinary life – my life. Christian meditation has for a good while been a source of spiritual growth in me. I also find it demanding, perplexing, sometimes mundane, occasionally beautiful, emotive, and rewarding. I take consolation that I do not meditate alone or in a vacuum. God helps me and pushes me out to experience his world in all its plainness, mystery, confounding complexity and bare simplicity. Inasmuch as I am meditating, I am gauging the activity of God in my life.
The Creative Constraints
Creativity needs parameters or framework; constraints make way for creativity to flourish. Here are the creative constraints for this exploration in Christian meditation:
Time: One Month Narrative: The Gospel of Mark
- Read the main episode in each chapter
- Sketch and meditate, ask questions, respond, think and pray
- Write a brief diary of what’s happening in my day, record emotions, insights, thoughts and prayers
- Reflect on the week that was, reflect on the questions I am asking
Expectations and Audience
I expect this will be challenging. In order for this experiment to be of any value to myself or others it will require no small amount of honesty and humility. I am not so much concerned with my ability to draw or not. No, I simply fear having nothing to say – possessing little insight, or little profound thought. Maybe I fear missing the point, not seeing or hearing God, too concerned with my own self-absorbed ideas to really commune with God. This touches on one of the most difficult aspects of this exploration: that I have something to prove to a pre-conceived audience. Any notion of performance may be a hindrance to telling the truth. That is to say, I may be tempted to cast myself in a certain favourable light. I wonder then, who is my audience?
My audience would have to include people on a similar journey. You would probably already be drawn to contemplative practices. You may have a fledgling desire to allow your imagination and scripture, the Holy Spirit and your emotions to lead where the wind blows. Perhaps you ache for connectedness and maybe have this hunch that God wants to touch and consecrate your imagination, even in the ordinariness of life. Like me, perhaps you want to shrug off some of what you think is spiritual and unwind a bit. Maybe a little ‘holy doodling’ might be good for you and me.
Therefore, I document my journey for you who are exploring the depth of Christian life, certain we are created to be creative, hopeful that God will meet us in the everyday. Perhaps your intuition tells you that spiritual practices need not be polished but beautifully unkempt.