Calligratherapy-Conscious Chinese Calligraphy

Calligratherapy, Conscious Chinese Calligraphy, uses soft brush to write Chinese Character. It is a useful practice on several levels, first and foremost, as a tool for reducing stress. This is why Leah and I call it ‘calligratherapy’.

It is a new field of therapy which is being used already in places like the UK as an alternative to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; another activity that is available to you to help with stress.

Different things work for different people to help them to relax and control anxious thoughts. We hope that the method we will demonstrate today is useful to you.

To give some very brief context: Chinese calligraphy, a form of written pictures, has been practiced for thousands of years for its artistic and healing properties.  Calligraphy in the orient is a meditative practice that encourages the integration of body and mind. Calli-meditation has been a Zen-buddhism practice for a long time in Asia.  As the calligrapher draws/writes, their breathing becomes even, their heart beat slows, and a sense of focus and clarity develops. It brings about a state of calm awareness. Everything that you see in front of you, the brushes, the ink and the inkstones, the paper (which we collectively refer to as the Four Treasures of the Study) can be considered an extension of yourself. Grinding the ink will help to settle your breathing, for example, which will regulate your heart beat and consequently your cortisol levels. As you draw, what comes out on paper is partly a picture of what is going on inside of you. We have different breathing exercises for different parts of calligraphy practice.  This is what we will show you today.

But there is more, over time, and this is the deeper level which I will touch on very briefly for those of you who are interested in exploring further. The Chinese calligrapher refines their temperament through the artistic representation of thought and consciousness. There are seven levels of calligratherapy practice:

  • Level 1:  Be present

  • Level 2:  Ground yourself

  • Level 3: Focus your mind

  • Level 4: Open up

  • Level 5: Exploration

  • Level 6: Seeking

  • Level 7: visualisation


The non-native speaker can develop the same level but the effect for them is very different to someone who can read Chinese. Whilst some will appreciate the brush technique and meaning behind the words, and the symbolism of the various styles used, others will appreciate the characters as pure art forms and project their own style and technique onto them. Just as it is not necessary to fully understand Buddhism in order to reap the benefits of mindfulness meditation, so it is not necessary for you to learn all this just yet. Today we’ve pre-selected some motivational phrases intended to help you experience a sense of calm…