Imagine, if you will, sitting still for 30 minutes doing nothing but observing how images of the past, plans for the future, the emotions that rise and pass through awareness, and the stories we tell ourselves about those emotions. All this mental activity, appears and disappears in your mind like clouds appear and disappear in the sky. Imagine noticing what arises in your mind without evaluating it, letting it go and then bringing your attention back to your sitting posture, to your breath. When sitting, the sage knows, I am sitting.
Imagine standing up, stretching, and then walking or trotting along a forest trail where the sun speckles the path with light and a redheaded woodpecker tap-a-tap taps on a crusty old pine. Imagine noticing what arises in your mind while walking, and letting it go to bring your awareness back to the motion of hips swinging, weight shifting, the alignment of your spine. When walking, the sage knows, I am walking.
Now imagine coming back from that walk to sit down in a dimly lit room where incense is burning, opening a spiral notebook and letting your pen go, without stopping, as fast as you can, without going back to dot an “i” or cross a “t”, for three ten-minute sessions in a row. Topic, “hot and cold”, 10 minutes, go. Imagine noticing your inner critic, your inner editor, begin to nag you about what you are writing, letting those voices go and then returning your attention to your grip on the pen, the movement of your wrist, the words that are spilling across the page.. When writing, the sage knows, I am writing.
It doesn't sound like much, I know; but this Zen writing practice is magical. The writing that flows in those thirty minutes erupts from a place that is far below the messages of pop culture, family dynamics, education and an array of other social conditioning. Writing Practice (sitting, walking and writing together in silence), takes us below the ideas that others have instilled in us: ideas about who we are and about what we want to do with this minuscule flash of human life. In writing practice, we meet our true selves, unfettered by conditioning.
Writing Practice also releases talent, which is something like a water table that is always there, under habitual thinking. Once we tap into that talent through writing practice, it flows through us. That’s when the magic starts; when we open ourselves to a unique expression of our completely unique selves so sparkling original language can flow effortlessly from an inexhaustible source, through our pen and on to the page. Some have called this “the awakening of the muse.”