Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Thinking about the thinking while knitting / Meditation/ No need to go to the Himalayas

The cowl featured in the last post is almost finished, due to the addictive nature of the knitting process.

While I was sitting there thinking the following over and over as I went:

"yarn over, slip one, knit two together, pass the slipped one over, yarn over, knit three,
yarn over, slip one, knit tow together..."

--for 210 stitches in the round, I realized that the state of consciousness I was achieving must be the elusive emptying of the mind that Eastern meditators try so hard to accomplish. It is completely mesmerizing.  I can go on for hours and not even think about food.  It is completely relaxing and yet completely absorbing.  I once read a book about a man from Canada who went to some Himalayan Buddhist monastery to learn to meditate.  The book might have been something like:  The Buddha laughs.  The Canadian sat there and sat there trying to learn to meditate and think nothing.  It was really tough and he got really constipated with all the sitting and eating of nothing much besides rice.

So my recommendation is, if you have trouble meditating and emptying your mind, try a long repeating lace pattern.  I am serious.   yarn over, slip one...   The repeating knitting instructions were my mantra.  The result was a cowl plus stopping the monkey brain, as they say.   It's a good thing, but at some point you have to stop and get some real work done.  It's hard to put the lace work down.  "yarn over, slip one..."

When women sit together over their handicrafts, it is also not so nicely called a "stitch and bitch".  In those sessions there also happens something akin to what my Quaker friend (enemy) says to me:  "We just sit together and when someone is inspired, then they say something." -- It's just like with the crafty women.  My sister-in-law from Swabia says in the village where she comes from this is called a "Vorsitz", which is a play on words.  A "Vorsitz" is mostly a committee meeting of important people, like the church or town elders, or in the olden days, the men sitting in the gate...  Now, with the crafts, the women sit outside in front of their houses, together, in the evening, getting this handiwork done and doing some gabbing, of course.  As I said in Swabia, that's the "Vorsitz"--a little nicer than "stitch an bitch", indeed.  The word  "Vorsitz" adds a certain playful dignity to the affair.

But, truly a lot of counselling does get worked on in such meetings--important matters of life and death and illness and faith and husband and children and cooking and the neighborhood...  They are very human and very healing get-to-gethers.  It makes one wish one lived in different times, where people sat around outside darning sock and such.  But no, we all have to go to yoga now.

I'm joking.  I wish I were in some kind of core strengthening exercise, now that my back is out. (Hexenschuss).  Only so much time for everything.  I will make some more cowls, but I will try to pace myself.  Two rows or 420 stitches only per day, now.  Self-control is in order.

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