When I was young, I didn’t write in a journal. I drew pictures. I drew every day, whenever I had chance. Drawing was my way of entering my inner life—my real life–not the life of the culture at large, the world of words and inherited stories. Drawing put me in touch with the world closer to my body, the world of sensations and feelings. I made realistic drawings of real things: trees and animals and humans. But I also drew stories that conveyed feelings and questions.
I drew characters escaping forbidding castles to slip away into the forest, riding beautiful horses, hair flying, becoming free. I drew animals with wild, intelligent eyes, animal guides. I drew to draw closer to myself and to the world.
Let your whole life be your practice. Notice how you are in any given moment, doing dishes, avoiding work, see it all of it with kind interest. And also notice activities that draw you in, walking or looking at your dog, and/or remember things you loved doing as a child.
Often, people come to meditation and spiritual practice hoping to escape themselves, or at least the parts of themselves that they find painful. This is completely understandable and natural. But it turns out that freedom is a door that opens inward. It comes as we learn to see and know and love ourselves.
“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am, that I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself full in the right way I will already have surpassed myself.” – Thomas Merton