It’s national Banned Books Week. Sigh. A history of yet another way, besides disappearing bricks-and-mortar bookstores, to make a writer’s life more challenging. In spite of the collected freedoms we and others support and sometimes die for, the concept of banned books is ultimately about freedom of speech and censorship. When it comes to meditation and choosing not to follow a path of thoughts but staying present in the moment of the breath, are we actually censoring our mind’s free flow of ideas instead?
In the colorful history of banned books, there is the concept of books being ‘challenged’ as well as actually being removed from the availability of certain populations such as children. Just as often however, books are kept away from adults with the right to choose what they read. It is the sense of challenge that permeates meditation practice rather than total separation. As we meditate and thoughts surface in the consciousness, we are given the freedom to choose at the very moment if we want to dwell on the thought or simply not. We have the freedom in our minds to set aside the thought temporarily, and this is in a sense meeting the fundamental challenge of all meditation practices. Do we grasp or do we let go?
Famous classics have been and continue to be challenged and/or banned by institutions and groups for various reasons that seem clear to those taking advantage of their right to free speech to question the propriety of a book. I see a contradiction there. If it weren’t for the freedom of speech and ergo freedom to read and write, these particular entities wouldn’t be allowed to oppose these books. In our minds during meditation, we are ultimately free, freer, in fact, than anywhere else or time. Real freedom of choice exists during meditation. We are free to challenge thoughts or free to follow them down the spiraling road of tangents. The spiral is thinking about something, and that’s entirely different from meditation as I see it practiced. Thinking is good. But the freedom not to think while meditating is just as good.
For more information on Banned Books Week 2011 visit the American Library Association website.
There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)
Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing, http://whodareswinspublishing.com.
And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous.
http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/ Bob Mayer
http://jenniholbrooktalty.wordpress.com/ Jenni Holbrook
http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ Kristen Lamb
http://inspiration4writers.blogspot.com/ Inspiration for Writers, Inc.
http://pentopublish.blogspot.com/ Natalie Markey
http://amyshojai.com Amy Shojai
Check out my new website Joy E. Held
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Be well, write well