If someone were to ask me how after 35 years of meditation the practice has contributed to who I am today, I’m not sure I could answer succinctly. Just like there is nothing really quick and tidy about life, there is nothing quick or tidy about meditation including the results. Yes, we can sit down for a quick five minutes of peace and quiet four times a day to equal our goal of twenty minutes a day, but the results are scattered for the average person. Instead of cumulative, each session is beginning from the beginning each and every time. But that is the valuable trinket many people fail to recognize about meditation and that’s why some of them give up the practice. They don’t see any big changes. They don’t feel like they are progressing. They don’t know if they’re doing it right. They are tired of starting over the same way every practice. And they don’t see a tangible goal, something they can grab onto and work toward, a reason to meditate.
Thirty-five years ago I was in love with my IBM Selectric electric typewriter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Selectric. I could type like the wind and writing became even more of a compulsion when I found out how quickly and efficiently I could write and edit articles. Once I cracked open the seam of a story and had the Selectric turned on, the poems and columns poured out like water from a spigot. I was in a mental zone while writing, and nothing short of a child screaming, “Mommy, she has the matches again!” could break me out of the writing trance. Ideas, words, and fingers reaching frantically in every direction of the compass across the span of the keyboard, known lovingly to me then as “the keys” of the typewriter. They were the keys to finally getting all that stuff out of my head, onto paper, and into the hands of others. They were the keys to my deciding to become a writer, get a journalism degree, and publish as much as I could possibly pass from my brain to my hands to the keys to the printer to the reader. This was actually my first experience with meditation even though I didn’t realize it. I was intensely focused on the writing and the process. That’s what meditation is: focus. And writing is where I learned to focus and when introduced to meditation, the ground work was already in place because I had learned to focus on a story and stay dedicated to the idea until it was finished.
Sure the pure definitions of meditation say things like “calm tranquility,” “emotional detachment,” and “blissful state,” but I had already experienced those trance-like places of clarity as a writer. Learning to breathe and call it meditation was a “peace” of cake. Because writing requires awareness of detail, clear steps of organization, and the results are any number of acceptable variations, the similarities of writing to meditation are easy to recognize. All writers are practicing a state of focus while writing. The next logical step is to roll the office chair from the keyboard for five or ten minutes and sit in stillness with your breath. When you return to the craft of piecing together the twenty-six letters of the alphabet into words, ideas, sentences, and stories your perspective will be the fresh and new you’ve been hoping for.
So it is writing that led me to meditation and meditation that continues to lend it’s nothingness and its everything-ness to my writing. Did you know you are meditating when you write? Notice next time, simply notice.
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