What is Writing Meditation?
Writing Meditation is a discipline based on ancient Asian contemplative practices. I evolved this discipline through decades of my experiences as writer and meditator. The discipline combines a method of meditation and the process of writing to guide writers of all levels to improve their craft, discover their voice, strengthen their style and bring depth to the content. The discipline also helps clarify thought and intensify emotion.
The practice of Writing Meditation has two goals: to light a fire of passion into your written expression, and to increase joy in life. A typical session of Writing Meditation consists of ten to fifteen minutes each of guided Body, Heart or Mind Meditation followed by a writing session lasting one to four hours.
In Body Meditation, you focus on your inhalations and exhalations as you scan the body from the soles of your feet to the top of your head. In Heart Meditation, you breathe in and breathe out as you pay attention to your emotions and feelings.
Finally, in Mind Meditation you attend to all thoughts that cross your mind while taking long, deep breaths. This practice extends your ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. Your scattered self feels integrated and your imagination awakens to wider and wilder possibilities.
Your feelings and thoughts first well up from within and only later are they expressed in language. Writing with awareness taps a place deep within the heart that knows all human emotions. You may or may not have experienced a particular emotion but you can empathize with it. You feel it at the bottom of your belly because you are human. Empathizing with the emotions of other people, fictional or real, are signs of a superior writer.
Within minutes after meditation, you find yourself absorbed in your work in progress. As you delve into your creative writing, you transform your senses, feelings and thoughts into verbal expressions. As you write, you feel the characters in the marrow of your bones. Your words bring them to life. Your passion is reflected in courageous and confident sentences, stanzas and scenes. When you write in such a way, your voice takes on a life of its own. Your characters and narration come alive as the creative flow streams from you to your character’s voice. The concentration you build in your meditation works like a laser beam that deepens your writing. This absorbed imagination is rooted within you. It grows from within you and not from outside you.
The practice encourages writers to create a seed sentence (mantra). The mantra must be rooted in Writing Meditation sessions, must emerge as an insight and must be relevant to the writer. The purpose of the mantra is to bring back the focus whenever thoughts go astray during the practice.
“Revise Your Day!” is the mantra that took me one year to receive. I was focused on the idea of a meaningful line that would include honing my writing and enhancing my day. Each day, the mantra not only suggests that I should rewrite the pages that I wrote the previous day until they are polished but also nudges me to refine my moments here and now. It reminds me not to repeat mistakes that I made yesterday.
“Revise your day!” I tell myself when I sit down to practice Writing Meditation. Its cumulative effect is miraculous and the reason I continue to be a Mindful Writer.