SKETCH STRETCHING Telegraph  —  A 15 minute contemplation exercise 2-16-23 Part 2

Intention  —  Threading your way into happiness and beyond

Tools  —  Plan 15 minutes of uninterrupted quiet, bring pencil, paper, cushion, timer

Can you recall a time when you felt great?  Your body felt at ease and all the world was right?  A time when you felt really good, special and bathed in peace, calm and happiness?

Imagine a telegraph that transmits these good feelings of emotional energy rather than printed words.  And consider that this telegraph was from your self to yourself. It contained your own prior experience of feeling great. Remember that feeling? You know you can.

Form a picture in your mind of that experience. Sure, you may not be feeling it right now but your older self does not send the message to you until you ask for it.  Okay, for now just recall that you have had the experience of having had that great wonderful feeling. Aim high.

This telegraph system works like this. Your mind/body has had the experience. Yes? It is in your memory. Yes? You can tap into the picture in your mind of that memory. Yes? Once you have the picture or even a glimpse of it; take a snapshot. “Click it,”  just as you would of a current great experience to save it on your smart phone.

Next the fun part. Draw, scribble, doodle or sketch a representation of the snapshot. It does not have to look anything like it. This is just a mind image you bring down to concreteness on a piece of paper that you can look at.  For example if your special feeling came from a beach vacation with someone you could sketch a circle for the water and a few lines for the people. More or less detail is not needed.  The sketch is just a visual reminder of the experience. Actually, the less detail the more open the sketch remains to bring forth deeper connections to the actual feelings of the experience.

I call it sketch stretching. You are stretching your memory of the experience creating open lines of contact that merge into a telegraphic transmission of deep emotional feeling.  The foundation of this feeling can be the telegraph poles that are holding up the wire. Just as the earth that holds the poles at each end of the wire is the same, the deep emotional feeling is the same at each end of the telegraph transmission. You only need the transmission from the prior experience to restart or fire up the emotional feeling at the current end of the wire.  As you freely allow your awareness to flow up and back between the image and your thoughts about it you can stretch yourself into deeper understanding. 

You may routinely think of both the experience and the memory of it as being in the past. However, the memory of the experience is in your mind, now in the present.  The sketch delves into and brings the past emotional content into your present awareness.  By running your thoughts up and back over the telegraph wire between the image of the sketch and your thoughts of contemplation you will discover obstacles to your happiness that once uncovered fade away.


  1. Recall the experience or feeling you would like to have telegraphed to you.
  2. Picture it in mind and take a snapshot.
  3. Sketch the snapshot.
  4. Contemplate the sketch and write down what you recall and how you felt.
  5. Add to the sketch with more of the experience.
  6. Contemplate and relate to themes, inspirational thoughts, cosmology of existence, awareness, intention, etc.

Going deeper  —  Go up and back until you are there with the telegraphed message.  As you go up and back contemplating both the words and the images you go deeper and deeper into yourself. You also go into the now of the current experience. As you touch the now the resistance to happiness has evolved and the foundation of natural happiness is felt once again.

Review the original experience look for color, sounds, background scenery, context of why you were there, was it a one time happening, if repetitive why do you return? Take in the happiness of the moment and add to the sketch with the feeling/sensations of happiness.  Create a name for the sketch.  With practice you will be able to reclaim your natural state of happiness with just a glance at either the sketch or its name. Enjoy.

Additional explorations

Sketch Stretching as a meditation

Contemplate the image and especially your words. Keep going even if it seems as if nothing is surfacing. Also look for unrelated content extraneous thoughts and images. See where it goes. Keep going till the end of the 15 minutes of this meditation; just as if you are on the cushion with the mediation technique of your choice.

Note and name any mind state or sketch any hindrances that arise:

                Begin by noticing if you have any agenda in mind in the moment such as:

  1. Is there any desire for more or less of anything?
  2. Any ill will or thoughts of irritation?
  3. Explore your thoughts for any restlessness?
  4. Is there any boredom occurring?
  5. Any doubt of the entire process?

Contemplation exercise possibilities:

  1. Choose one of the words listed or create your own and contemplate the word. See what comes to mind as your memory and understanding of the word flows through your awareness.  You may be surprised at how your imagination can be inspired by what seems to be the ordinary.

Telegraph, escalator, rubber band, forest, lake, yoyo, scissor, arrow, cruise, planet, whip, stairway, glasses, anchor, boat, stream, ocean, bird, music, food, snowman, waterfall, rain

2. Once you have a sketch you enjoy use it as you might a candle flame as a visual object for meditation.

3. Try holding a sense of affection for the object of meditation where it is the breath or anything else.

4. Combining any word from the list above (or your own) and combine with a topic such as impermanence, ego, attachment, generosity, truth, postures etc.

Back to Part 1 Sketch Stretch  – The Art Form of Scribble Doodle Sketch 2-16-23 Part 1


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