Rangoli, handwriting and your mind

During workshops, team meetings and lectures, I often write on the whiteboard to emphasize a point. A few years ago, I started noticing frequent spelling errors. It had a pattern. I was mostly missing one or two letters while writing. It was as if my mind was racing ahead even as my hands wrote out the letters. It was surprising and a bit embarrassing, but I couldn’t explain it to myself.

Recently, on a project on feminine identity, we came across an interesting perspective. A woman’s personality, in many parts of India, was assessed looking at the Rangoli she made, a daily ritual in many parts of the country. A steady hand was linked to a steady mind with patience, a much-valued quality, especially amongst women.

Something fell in place for me. Both – handwriting and Rangoli making are about the hands following what our mind is conceiving. Be it an unsteady Rangoli, or spelling errors while writing, both reflect a mind that is not fully ‘on the job’ at hand.

It explained to me why painting and even cooking has a meditative quality to it. All these activities focus your mind on an intricate task in front of you.

In other words, handwriting a few pages, in your best handwriting, slowly, deliberately, paying attention to the appearance, neatness and spelling is an excellent meditative practice. Especially for those who aren’t blessed with cooking and painting skills.

One of my younger team members mentioned that she is unused to writing much by hand but great at typing on the phone and laptop. As handwriting and the importance of getting the spellings right disappear even as the criticality of being focussed and ‘present’ increases, we might be missing out on a wonderful exercise for our minds.

#mindfulness #focus #beingpresent