When we practice writing as meditation, the writing is the meditation practice. It’s a meditation practice in which you use writing about sensations, feelings, and thoughts as the anchor for your attention. The practice involves writing and simply allowing the words to flow without censoring, without judgment, without worry over grammar or punctuation or getting the words just so. It’s a practice of being fully present in the moment with awareness, allowing sensations, feelings, and thoughts to arise and writing what you notice, and approaching whatever arises with non-judgment, curiosity, and kindness.
When you’re less judgmental or reactive toward your experience, you’ll likely feel calmer, more focused, and more creative. Whether you are journaling, writing for publication, making art, or engaging in other creative practices, you will likely find that writing meditation benefits your creative practice. Writing as meditation can help you to focus your attention, calm your body, open your heart, and cultivate a steady mind. Writers tend to love this practice, because it can also help you to have a more focused writer’s mind, tap into creative flow, and be a better writer. Artists and other creative people also love the creative freedom that this practice facilitates.
When you practice writing as meditation, writing is the vehicle, and meditation is the practice. If you’re a writer, this practice can also have an added bonus of helping you to access your authentic writer’s voice and develop a unique and distinctive writing style.
Practicing Writing as Meditation
Gather a pen and paper, and choose a place where you can write uninterrupted for 20 minutes. Adopt a posture that allows you to be relaxed but alert as you write. Ring a soft bell or timer to begin the practice. Take 3 deep breaths using 3-Part Breath (Learn about this breathing practice in my post “Focused Writing: 3-Part Breath Meditation for Writers”). Allow your attention to come to rest on any sensations, feelings, and thoughts that arise in the moment. Drop into sensation and feeling, listen to your thoughts, and write what you feel and hear.
Try to take a step back from the thoughts to observe them from the perspective of an inner objective witness. Try to meet these thoughts with an attitude of non-judgment, interest, and curiosity, allowing them to be as they are without wanting them to be otherwise. Keep writing about whatever sensations, feelings, or thoughts arise. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or writing well. Simply drop into your present moment sensations, feelings, and thoughts, and write what you feel or hear. No freaking out, though, so if you start to feel overwhelmed by anything that is arising in this experience, please put the pen down and take a break to do something else to calm and soothe yourself–Feel your feet on the floor, take some deep breaths, have a drink of water, listen to your favorite music.
Remember, writing as meditation is a practice, not a destination, and it’s about being in the present moment. Careful not to get hung up in striving to get somewhere with the writing, as you’ll be at risk for becoming entangled in that striving, which can take you out of creative flow. It’s kind of like sleeping—if you’re wide awake, the harder you strive to sleep, the more awake you become. But if you just let go into the moment, you’ll fall asleep. Let go, and be in the moment with your thoughts, and you’ll not only enjoy the practice, you’ll also likely reap the benefits of the practice as an added bonus.