I have felt it in the stillness of a zikr turn. I have felt it in the spacious silence following mantra meditation. I have felt its guidance on a journey to the Shaman’s drum. But, never, before today, have I felt it doodling.
Ahhhhh, to be fair, this was no ordinary doodling. As part of my The Word Made Fresh January class, we were invited to tangle (also known as Zen tangling), or doodle, the Hebrew script. Having practiced Psalm 23 in Hebrew, I already knew the power of the language so I was intrigued to investigate further.
My process began with reading about each letter in one of our texts, The Book of Letters, by Lawrence Kushner. As I read about each one, a word emerged that seemed to me a kind of portal into that letter’s infinite wisdom. Then soon, short prayers started to emerge. Then, I felt ready to start tangling – but not before my mind got in some good commentary. You’re not as artist! How can you possibly make those letters beautiful?
But, Just start, I heard. And, so I did. Hummmmm, this is not so bad…kinda cool really. Ooooop!!!! Mistake!!!! I wonder what would happen if I just followed that line? Where does it want to go? What is this corner space wanting? This curve? This angle? What shape? What figure? What IS that? Boy, THAT was amazing. That long curved line just rolled into something I didn’t even see coming!
And as I continued to tangle, it was as if I had stepped over some threshold right into the portal of each letter. Alef…is this what you were wanting? How can I see your Oneness everywhere? Bait? Gimmel? All twenty-two of you are so beautiful! I can hardly believe it. Now I can see how you helped to create heaven and earth. Thank you, each of you, for being my Teacher. Thank you for showing the way…one stroke at a time.
Oh my…who IS doodling here, anyway?
And then, after many hours of what seemed like no time, my book of prayers was complete and I could only marvel with tender, quiet, gratitude at what had been created…
One Blessed doodle at a time.