In recent years, meditation has been considered a kind of panacea for all sorts of struggles. It's not a panacea, of course, but I've found it to be enormously helpful for my creative work.
Here are some reasons why meditation is helpful for me as a writer:
- Meditation gives structure to my day. Morning and afternoon, it's what I do.
- Meditation provides a kind of entryway into my practice as a writer. I use meditation to ground myself before I get down to the business of writing.
- Meditation allows thoughts to surface that might not surface if I were just going about my day.
- Meditation gives me a few moments to do nothing.
This last one is of particular interest to me. In a recent post on The Imperfectionist, Oliver Burkeman writes about "the knowing-doing gap." As Burkeman puts it:
[I]t’s unfortunately much easier to know what it is you need to do differently – in order to accomplish what you want to accomplish, or simply to enjoy life more – than it is to actually do those things.
Sometimes, I think doing nothing is the best antidote to the knowing-doing gap.
First, in meditation, we try to disrupt the mind's typical train of thought by allowing it to pass right on by. We observe it and let it go.
Second, meditation offers us the opportunity to do nothing so that then we can get off the meditation cushion and go do something. Do nothing so that you can do something.
If you're looking for tips on how to start a meditation practice, I highly recommend Jeff Warren's "How to Meditate" course on Calm. If you aren't a Calm subscriber — and if you're just starting a meditation practice, why would you be? — you might consider checking out Jeff's podcast: "The Consciousness Explorers."
If you're interested in thinking more about the intersection of meditation and creativity, I recommend Dan Harris's interview with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo.
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