For a long time, I saw meditation and writing as two separate parts of my life. Yes, I’d read Natalie Goldberg and loved her approach. And I’d done “free writing,” where I paid quiet attention to my thoughts and allowed them to flow onto the page. But when I was actually engaged in writing a story or essay, I would find myself lost in my thoughts, caught up in my emotions, and as far from meditative as you could get.
I believed then, as I do now, that meditation isn’t just something you practice sitting on a cushion, but a way of life. That you can bring meditation to everything you do. Still, I had difficulty applying it to my writing process.
That was before I learned how simple it was to bring my awareness back to the present moment, even in the middle of writing something that is blaring in my head. The way I do it is this: Each time I complete a paragraph, I pause. I take a deep, slow breath. And I focus on that breath coming in and going out.
Yes, that’s all there is to it. An incredibly easy step, and yet one that yields remarkable results. When I pause to focus on the simple act of breathing, I step out of the flow of thoughts and emotions carrying me away and rest in the moment I am in.I become present and aware. My mind grows still.
This practice has had an effect not only on how I feel, but on the quality of my writing. When I resume writing after a pause, it is with renewed clarity. I feel less anxious and more centered. My writing is automatically more focused and precise.
The practice of pausing to focus on my breath has had a long-term effect as well. Gradually, it has helped me create a habit of mindfulness that I use throughout my day in all my activities.
There are many ways a writer can alter this practice to fit her or his own writing process. Instead of pausing after a paragraph, it could be after a page. Or you could pause at specific time intervals. However, you try it, bringing meditation into your writing in this ultra-simple way will have immediate benefits both for your writing and for your sense of well being.
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...