Being able to draw well can be somewhat like attentive and complete listening. For many people, learning a certain kind of drawing helps them to be better listeners. A receptive state that enables this kind of drawing, once learned, can be transferred to listening.
Good news: (Almost) anyone can master this state.
Today I will recommend two books to help you practice being receptive in drawing. In a later post, we will look at how to transfer that receptivity to situations in which you want to listen deeply. However, many of you probably will be able to transfer the skill as soon as you use it during drawing.
The first book is Your Artist's Brain: Use the right side of your brain to draw and paint what you see - not what you think you see. Don't worry. Despite the title, the author Carl Purcell does not include much of the inaccurate left brain/right brain "science." From the book:
I initiated a seven-year search to discover which functions of the brain artists use when drawing and the causes of the more common problems experienced by my students. I discovered that the right tools for drawing (and painting) are present in everyone's brains but we have other mental processes that subvert the activity of drawing.
It is in order to really see, to see ever deeper, ever more intensely, hence to be fully aware and alive, that I draw what the Chinese call 'The Ten Thousand Things' around me. Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world.
I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.
One might paraphrase the two authors and say:
- The right tools for listening are present in everyone's brain but we have other mental processes that subvert the activity of listening.
- Listening is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world.
Both drawing and listening can be vehicles for mindfulness and discovery, and I have found that the underlying state for one can be a door to the other. Moving easily between the vehicles will be the focus of another post later this month.