How can we learn to see the world clearly

Drawing of two cats
Blind contour drawing of two cats by Gunjan Singh in our mindful drawing session

Last week, we met for mindful drawing in the Thankful Drawing Community . We practiced blind contour drawing, where you draw something while looking at the object but not looking at your drawing. Above is a lovely blind contour drawing of cats by Gunjan Singh. Blind contour drawing enables several things:

  • It is a great way to warm up and loosen up, both for drawing and creative thinking because you have limited control, so you can draw beyond perfection.

  • One of my drawing teachers Irma Serrano says that drawing without looking at the drawing helps you find your line.

  • And when you are not busy fiddling with your drawing, you learn to see the drawing subject clearly – not as you want them to be or not as you think they are but as they actually are. And this is a golden skill in drawing and life.

Seeing things as they are

Problems in our lives and the world around us are inevitable - just like solutions are.

And yet when I come across a problem that scares me, I often start fixing, denying, avoiding, or, fighting it. I also might start thinking, “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” And all this while I am not looking at the problem directly.

As the poet David Whyte says in his TED talk (below), I get busy fighting with the nature of reality, instead of accepting it.

David Whyte on fighting with reality

The last few years brought such situations and problems in my personal life that I needed to learn new ways of being. And learn to look at the problem or the situation clearly, and understand the boundaries of my control or influence.

Even beyond the sphere of our life, world events like the war in Syria, and Ukraine, politics in Afghanistan, and global warming are so overwhelming. And I get distressed by these, so I try to avoid reading about them but my guilt keeps nagging me to do something.

It is only now that I am learning to be present with my discomfort and helplessness with problems. This helps me accept that they are too big for me to solve and are outside my control. What I can do is donate and volunteer, and help in smaller ways that are within my control.

This courage to be present and see something clearly and accept your emotional relationship to it is well worth learning in life.

Thank you!