Meditation has often been touted as the road to true health physically, emotionally, and mentally. While it has become quite popular in the West in the last few decades of the 20th century and has remained so as we head well into the 21st century, it is really an age-old practice that has been observed by the wisest and healthiest of men throughout time.
At the heart of it, meditation (whether seated meditation, or writing meditation) is all about being in touch with yourself.
Many of us simply rush through life, letting events pass us by without taking a moment to pause and reflect about the reality and magnificence of our existence. Meditation seeks to remedy that. It enables you to get in touch with your inner self through the art of introspection. A lot of forms of meditation focus on being able to regulate your breathing, slowing it down to the point where your mind is at peace and quiet enough to really look inward. That is when you process your thoughts and feelings in a way that you can truly connect to them.
It makes sense if you think about it; we let our thoughts and feelings blitz past us at the speed of light without even making the effort to catch them one by one and really inspect them to figure out what they’re all about. How can we expect to make any sense of the world around us when we struggle to make sense of ourselves?
There are many forms of meditation out there. Most of them have to do with sitting and controlling our breathing or performing a sequence of exercises that allow us to control our breathing. It’s unlikely, though, that you have ever heard of writing as a form of meditation, and yet it is one of the most powerful.
One of the most respected authorities on writing as a form of meditation, Buster Benson, says that it works in a very unique way to the way we normally do writing. For most writing tasks, the focus is on setting a word limit on the work. However, when we write as a form of meditation, we instead set a time limit to it. There also aren’t any rules about sentence structure or format or the use of words to evoke emotion in the reader. You’re not doing it for anyone but yourself.
You should, therefore, write whatever comes to your mind.
Basically, you take the time to catch each of your thoughts as they cross your mind and turn it over and observe it from any angle. You then write what you see without any consideration for whether it makes sense or not.
According to Mr. Benson, Writing works as a kind of handrail for our thoughts. It is borne out of the part of our brain that is always looking for something to do and therefore gets restless. When we write, we fill up that restless part and so our mind is freed up to do some creative thinking or just general introspection. Think about why you probably enjoy rote tasks like walking, gardening, taking a shower, or even doing the dishes. All of these tasks fill up that region of the mind that gets restless and lets our mind think about whatever it really enjoys thinking about in the process. In the same way that any of these tasks can be a form of mediation, so can writing.
How Writing as Meditation Works
Start by closing your eyes and slowing down your breathing. This is important as it will prime you for the process and let everything flow in a natural way. You can try to slow down your breathing as you do this to help.
Once you’re in a relaxed setting, take your timer and set it for 20 minutes. It will go off when your time is up and get you out of the meditative trance. If you really get into it without an alarm, you just might end up going all night.
Start writing. Write whatever comes into your mind. What you’re doing is writing out your stream of consciousness, which means there isn’t any clear direction for your thoughts. You’re just releasing whatever’s inside of you. You can find meaning in it later on. For now, just write.
After every few sentences, take a few moments to take a long breath in and let a long breath out. This is to consciously regulate your breathing along the way so it doesn’t get out of the way. You can even breathe after every sentence. Keep at it until the timer goes off and then you can stop.
Find a way that works for you. These are merely guidelines and not hard rules that you absolutely have to follow. The idea is simple: write for a set amount of time about whatever comes into your mind and keep your breathing slow. You can even type with your eyes closed if you’re a good touch typist. It’s really all about what works for you. And you should also seek to have fun.
At the end of the writing session, your body will feel a lot more relaxed and you will have a sense of calm and peace. You will also have entered into a truly immersive meditative state that will help you clear your head of all the thoughts that burden you. When you’re done, you can look at what you have written and study it. It just might give you insights about the workings of your brain.
The beauty of meditation is that there is no single way to do it. There are many equal paths to a state of meditation and writing is one of them. If you’re already a prolific writer, then it may just be the perfect form of meditation for you.
By Jacob Dillon
Jacob Dillon is an editor and journalist at EssaysOnTime. He is fond of attending concerts, travelling and surfing. The best way for Jacob to express himself is to write.
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