Meditation for Writers
By Mayra Cuevas
Every few years I take a couple of weeks off and travel to England’s Lake District to participate in a Buddhist festival and meditation retreat. It is my way of recharging my spiritual batteries and refocusing on the things that matter most. This is were I am now, in a temple located in the outskirts of the tiny village of Ulveston, nestled amongst the hills and lakes of Cumbria.
I’ve been meditating since I was sixteen years old. A psychologist recommended it as part of my treatment for a period of teenage depression. I will be forever grateful to her because she introduced me to this wonderful practice that has helped me keep my sanity even in the most challenging of times of my life.
In my writing life, meditation has helped me to stay focused and deal with feeling overwhelmed and anxious about my work. It has given me peace of mind, and in that peace I have found a boundless stream of creative energy that otherwise would have remained untapped and obstructed by the cloudiness of daily concerns. It has also given me the peace of mind to accept constructive criticism and to keep emotional distance between my feelings and the work.
The creative effects of meditation have scientific backing. Researchers have found that certain meditation techniques promoted creative thought by affecting the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
What is meditation?
There are many definitions of meditation, but the one that I adhere to is the practice of mixing your mind single-pointedly with a virtuous object, like love or compassion. Your mind becomes one with the object and every other thought ceases. As a result, you experience a clarity unlike any you’ve experienced throughout the day. Your mind feels vast and open. Uncluttered.
When I began my meditation practice, one of my first realization was that my mind was cluttered. Normally, we go about our daily life consumed by our external activities. We rarely take the time to pause and take stock of the state of our minds and the quality of our thoughts. It can be scary to sit down and meditate for the first time, and see the mess we carry with us everywhere we go. But with practice, that turbulence begins to subside and you find your place of peace. And from that peace comes happiness, new energy and creativity. The kind of creativity that opens your mind to the flow of new possibilities and ideas.
Like any spiritual practice we shouldn’t be attached to quick results, but have a steady daily practice. In time, we notice the changes. Our patience increases, our heart opens and our mind is able to take on situations that would have overwhelmed us in the past.
Resources for Meditation
Here is a link for excellent guided meditation CD’s for beginners, click here. These are the ones that I use. The meditations are short, 10-15 minutes, and easy to follow.
Do you have a meditation practice? How has it helped you in your creative life? Leave your comments below.