But what is the point of meditation?
We can begin with two separate strands, the writer and meditation. It's perfectly possible to write without meditating. It's perfectly possible to write successfully and profitably without meditating. But when you talk to writers about how they write, how the stories or text come to them, at some point there will be, especially for novelists, a point at which they'll say, often I don't know what happens in the transmission of text from inside my head to the page.
Whether they say it in meditative terms or not, something happens to tap them into their imagination which then comes up with something beyond what they might have been expecting.
How can this creative force work for us?
All of us have this creative force running through us. If we're honest we don't know where it comes from often. It's an amalgam of ideas, feelings, thoughts, outside influences which when mixed in a kind of creative soup produces the words on the page. And it's likely that this creative force has no reference for most people to meditation and self-enquiry.
But with this Gathering I'm starting from the basic understanding that those of us who are following what we like to call 'a spiritual path', are listening to the inner promptings of something way beyond the need for money, fame or any of the other markers our present culture flags up.
And that can often feel uncomfortable when our inner promptings conflict with the status quo around us. How then do we create the balance we seek between the inner and outer?
Meditation and self-enquiry is the answer
Now if you're new to meditation you may have the idea of it in the way I did way back. Spending hours sitting thinking of nothing.
But what I've discovered in recent years is that I've been meditating for a long time. I simply didn't call it that. My first introduction to 'meditation' was through a yoga class. I went for the exercise and the 'relaxation' at the end was a bonus. Lying still and focusing on a candle flame I could do. Over the weeks I felt better, dropped down a dress size and felt calmer.
So I kept doing variations of the recipe for years. Added in a practice here and there as I tried different classes and hey presto I was meditating. But I never called it that. When I did attempt to 'meditate' I failed miserably. As I thought. Because meditation was something way more complicated than anything I could manage.
Well no actually. It's as easy as breathing.
And whether you call it mindfulness or meditation or relaxation thinking of a candle, what it represents is the surefire way to improve your writing.
Why? Because when we get still enough, in whatever way we choose, it opens up a channel to a creativity that will blow our minds with its depth, variety and authenticity. That authenticity of which everybody speaks. That honesty. That real voice we seek to bring out in our writing.
That's why it's worth investing the time and practice in meditation and self-enquiry.
That's why I've gathered together some speakers who have experienced the ups and downs of meditation and self-enquiry and can share what's worked for them.
That's why going a day without meditation for me now is a day when I shut off my best and wisest friend from talking with me.
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