Thursday, May 11, 2006

Paying Attention

Early this week, after a few deep cleansing breaths, I ventured into the territory of lace and discovered, at last, an antidote to monkey mind.

For as much as I like to sanctify my knitting habit as a form of meditation, the truth is that I have achieved sufficient technical proficiency to permit me, in most cases, to Not Pay Attention. I knit serenely in the rocker by the sunny window and contemplate: what's for dinner, what on earth could be causing Mrs. B's elevated potassium, and whether the odd whirring noise in the next room indicates irrevocable harm being inflicted on the CD Rom by my three year old. All perfectly valid avenues of intellectual inquiry, but missing the point of mindfulness.

After ripping back to the beginning four times over, two wonderful things happened: I sorted out the mystery of chart reading, and I began to Pay Attention. Thankfully, the Jaegerspun Zephyr retained its essential being and remained unfuzzy.

In lace knitting, the consequences of monkey mind are concrete and irrefutable - none of this "gently and uncritically draw your awareness back to the breath" business. While I make an effort to be gentle with the ripping, I simply can't be uncritical of the crooked set of eyelets five rows back. So I Pay Attention. To every stitch.

How many shawls to enlightenment?