Zentangle: Meditation Through Drawing
A simple technique to trace patterns that promote tranquility and concentration.
Zentangle is a drawing method created by artists Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts that consists of tracing patterns that foster calm and meditation.
The first rule: one line at a time. With this simple principle in mind, whoever carries out this activity achieves the organic combination of patterns that grow and flow naturally, until they develop into intricate shapes and designs. This is why another one of its principles involves the relation between the simple and the complex. Beginning with simple lines, Zentangle ends up being a complex network of patterns and pieces which, like a puzzle, result in a whole.
Because it implies the flow of shapes that are generated intuitively, drawing these patterns, which anyone can achieve, leads to calm and relaxation. Zentangle fosters creativity and artistic sensitivity; it helps improve concentration, generating a feeling of timelessness; it improves coordination and the ability to solve problems.
Since it was created, Zentagle has gained many followers; communities have been formed, as well as websites for people who share its benefits and want to share its different techniques. There are also courses imparted by qualified teachers, who teach the technique to those who wish to develop this skill.
Zentangle implies a philosophy: in the apparent contradiction of the established limits that form it, this technique frees the spirit and creative will. In the words of Rick Roberts, one of its creators, it is “non-verbal language of patterns and proportions which opens doors to insights which seemed locked before.”
The technique would seem to work with the same principle as the ancient art of tracing mandalas: Both consist of a physical action that implies a mental exercise and have positive consequences —remember that Jung turned to these geometric and archetypal protocols as an instrument for healing. Thus, Zentagle could be seen as yet another kind of modern meditation.
In an intuitive act, the act of drawing these patterns allows us, based on simple lines, to approach the complexity of the universe. Additionally, the technique implies principles that could be applied to life itself: Zentangle requires firm and irreversible strokes, just like the actions we carry out on a daily basis. Also, as someone’s life, the final result of this technique is never known, since its nature, like that of the universe, is based on possibilities and not absolutes.
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