Zen of Writing: Meditation for Writing
Thinking is so complicated. The very idea of thinking cajoles us into a state of confusion. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do you have great thoughts one second, then terrible ones the next? Why does thinking give us such inspiring experience but also drives us insane with possibilities of suffering?
Is there a way to channel these random thoughts and alternate moods to, somehow, harness that energy and direct it towards your writing?
This article is second in the series “Zen of Writing”. The previous piece spoke of the tools needed for writing, the next will be about how to be resourceful with the timing of your writing.
You can read the first article of this series here. Now, let’s begin?
Thinking is a module
In Eastern thinking, thinking is a tool. It is not a consequence of your brain’s activities, like Western science suggests. Thinking is a tool by your identity to make sense of the world and then to make sense of your place in it. Your thoughts come from your mind. And your mind is where all ideas, concepts, and imaginations originate.
Think, pun intended, about everything around you right now. It was all conceived in the mind before it became physical. Your favorite stories and your favorite music were all thoughts before they became legends. So the question is, how can we harness our mind and these thoughts? How can we become fluent with the language of our minds?
This is where meditation comes in. There are countless meditation centers now, all over the world. Meditation, in different forms, is taught in religious centers as well. Yoga studios contribute meditation and now companies and institutions are requiring it. Despite this growing concept, the essence of meditation continues to be diluted.
When I ask people about their meditation practices, they often complain that they struggle with shutting off their thoughts and minds. I find this disturbing; why would you want to shut off one of the most valuable tools humans possess?
I’m going to go out on a limb and explain that meditation is infinite. There are infinite amounts of ways to meditate. Truly, meditation is acquiring a flow state. This can be done by sitting quietly and focusing on one’s breath. It can be experienced while swimming laps in a pool or while making love. Meditation is when one transcends their mind. A meditative mind is able to focus on thoughts and develop them. And with that in mind, let’s dive deeper into the mind of writing.
Works for fiction and nonfiction
Whether you are interested in writing nonfiction or fiction, meditation will serve you well. Let’s begin with conceptualizing the meditation process. It’s very important to find a comfortable seated position. The spine should be as straight and erect as possible. Imagine that the top of your head is being pulled up into space by an imaginary cord. Close your eyes and focus on elongating your inhalations, the space between your inhalations and exhalations, and your exhalations.
Here’s where you have to really practice: thoughts will begin to coalesce in your mind. Some thoughts may be wanted, and some may be really annoying ones. The practice is holding onto desired thoughts like they are beach balls. Let’s say you want to write a book about octopuses. Allow thoughts about octopuses to flow into your meditation. Give the octopuses your attention, and avoid other thoughts like they are smelly bags of garbage. You may connect with dialogue, ideas or feelings about octopuses. Entire scenes and episodes may play out in your mind between octopus families.
Write these down after you meditate or while you meditate. You can always jump right back into meditation. This method of brainstorming and meditating is also a way to turn your attention towards ways to improve your life or focus on what you need to accomplish in your day or the near future.
Football players like Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson use this kind of meditation to imagine the game they are about to play.
Another great meditation to practice when you’re struggling with focusing on a writing subject is a walking meditation. Find a go-to park near where you live, or maybe explore various natural parks and venues. When you’re in the natural setting, carry your notebook and go for a nice walk, meditating on your topic of choice and allow thoughts to form that are aligned with your intention.
Walking meditation means you’re still aware of your surroundings, but you’re also turning on an autopilot. You don’t have to worry about cars or loud man-made noises. Allow the sounds of nature and your movement through nature to inspire your thoughts and ideas.
Meditation is crucial to your general well-being
Meditation is vital in this day and age. There will come a time in the near future where we will look at people almost disgustingly if they did not meditate, as we do to each other if we don’t brush our teeth or clean our nose. For writing, meditation is imperative. Our writing droughts can be linked to a build-up of irreconcilable thoughts in our minds. Meditation ferments those thoughts and helps us with clarity on our subject of choice. Ultimately, it drives us to be GENUINE (a fundamental key to successful writing careers).
If you have questions about how to meditate or how to discover a meditation that works for you, just drop a comment below. You can also find me anywhere on social media – Indy Rishi Singh
The next Zen of Writing will focus on the timing of writing. It’s all about timing, right?
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