Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and illustrator based in California. She is a regular contributor to Sadie Magazine and Wonderhowto. Yumi’s comic zine “Mundane Fortunes for the Next Ten Billion Years and Other Stories” was included as Notable Comics of 2012 in the Best American Comics anthology. Tabling at various art and comics festivals, she is also currently working on a graphic novel.
TMhome.com asked her a few questions about the practice of meditation
Yumi, when and how did you learn to meditate?
Back in 2008, I was inspired to meditate when I was teaching English abroad in Japan after I had just graduated from college. I was going through an extremely emotionally difficult period of my life, and very randomly, a fellow English teacher friend lent me a copy of “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle and right around the same time, my boyfriend recommended for me to listen to an audiobook of David Lynch’s book on meditation “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity.” Somehow both of these works inspired me to take meditation very seriously as a daily practice and to practice as much as possible, for the sake of my own mental health, creative practice and overall sense of happiness.
Is it easy for you to keep up regular practice in today’s hectic world?
It is easy for me–but only because I’ve been doing it for almost five years now and once it becomes a daily habit, it becomes another daily ritual that I absolutely have to do–like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. Getting into the habit of it wasn’t the easiest, but it is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
At the bare minimum, I meditate for 20 minutes immediately after waking up. I just set my iPhone timer to 20 minutes (so I won’t have to worry about losing track of time), close my eyes and connect to my inner silence. As much as possible, I try to find another 20 minutes to meditate in the evening so I begin the day with a clear mind and conclude the day with a clear mind. Finding 20 minutes, 10 minutes, even 5 minutes to meditate every day shouldn’t be completely impossible for anyone, no matter how busy you are. If you really want to make it a priority, you will find a way to make it happen.
You’ve said that you were inspired by David Lynch’s book “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness and Creativity”. Where do the big fish live, for you?
In solitude, in unfamiliar spaces, at the bottom of tea cups.
The world is always changing. One of the themes you visit through your art is the search for deeper meaning and presence in even the most different, constantly evolving, shifting environments. Do you find meditation helpful in navigating seas of change?
Absolutely. Meditation is a great way to remind myself that no matter where I am or what I am experiencing, the present moment is all I have and I should be grateful for the ever-fleeting present moment as much as possible. Meditation gives me the greater inner strength to resist the urge to dwell too much on the past or look too forward into the future. Taking one second to relish your surroundings and inhaling a single mindful breath can make a world of a difference.
Where do you hope to be standing – or sitting – 10 years from now?
No matter where I am sitting or standing, I hope to have a greater sense of peace, inner strength and creative courage to share with the world.