Noting as a mark making meditation

The Sparkle Experiment small creative play equals connection

Can drawing be used as a tool for meditation? While making art for fun is as worthy a reason to get creative, so is slowing down and taking a moment to connect to the present moment. Meditation is a way to do this (as well as through a variety of mindfulness and gratitude practices), but is it possible to combine making art/marks and meditation into one process?

John F. Simon Jr. in Drawing Your Own Path explains how a “marking practice”—regularly making marks on paper—is more important than media choices and describes “noting,” a style of “Insight Meditation”: “When I engage in noting, I try to pay close attention to the stream of mental phenomena rising into my conscious awareness, isolating every sensation that I smell, hear, taste, touch, see, or think. The “noting” part is when I identify each phenomenon to myself.”

This mark making practice grounds us in the present moment by focusing attention on immediate surroundings. In this way, noting could be described as a form of mediation, one where a pencil and paper help visualise an experience of a moment. Simon describes how to do noting: “… instead of identifying the sensation with a word in your mind, let the pencil in your hand make a mark on the page. The mark should be completely random and no two marks need be the same.”

Let your pencil go for a walk with the mind and record an experience of a present moment to create a connection to your inner world. Reflecting via the process of noting allows a moment of contemplation amidst the noises, smells and experiences currently around us, a moment that could be a welcome pause in the constant momentum of daily life.