Touch Drawing as a Moving Meditation

by Jewell Jnana Scanlon

I began Touch Drawing in 1999. It was an amazing opening for me. My sense of a small self stepped aside or rested back. I began to just experience the power of the force of creation moving through me while images emerged upon the page. It may have been the first time in my adult life that I could really just play with paint without any concern about results.

Touch Drawing became a moving meditation for me. I began to play with the rhythms of my hands moving on the page. It seemed like magic as different marks would appear on the page when I just let my hands and fingers dance across the surface. I loved being able to move my hands simultaneously or separately as if playing an instrument. When it was over, I would just lift the page off and set it aside without even really looking at it until later.

Before I learned Touch Drawing, I knew that I must find a way to do my art without the pain and fear of ruining it. I knew that this pain and fear was somehow a mind-body connection based on past experiences or old programs running in my head. I felt I should be able to talk myself out of feeling that way but during the process of creating an art piece those feelings would return and gravely overshadow the experience. Touch Drawing changed that for me.

The experience was so freeing that in the first 18 months I did over 500 drawings. It felt like the force was so powerful I had no choice. As I allowed myself to surrender to the process, I began to focus on the sound of rolling the paint onto the board, the sound of the tissue paper and to feel the texture under my hands as I smoothed it. My awareness of everything about the action of creating increased. I began to see images on the paper like I when I was a child staring at the texture of the drywall in my bedroom during my daily naptime. I began to experience myself as a vessel or a conduit for this force of aliveness moving through me. No longer was my drawing or painting about me or a reflection of me. It was just what it was. I was able to view my ‘finished’ pieces as a neutral witness without needing to interpret them.

Today I continue to use Touch Drawing as part of my process and have been able to do all of my art with that spirit no matter what medium I am using. The sacred free play has become a part of me. I am eternally grateful to Deborah for allowing the Spirit of Touch Drawing to express so freely through her and to so graciously sharing it with all of us. She has touched the lives of many and that has rippled out in ways that cannot be fully known.

In 2002 I went to British Columbia and meditated for 6 solid months. ( During that time I remembered the essence of my true nature and now experience an eternal and exquisite inner peace. I currently teach meditation classes and give public talks on Consciousness and the Nature of Inner Peace. I continue Touch Drawing as part of my process and it all feels as integrated and essential as breath to me.