What is the value to meditation in connection with writing?
Good question me, excellent truly.
For anyone who has read The Wheel of Time, the seminal series by Robert Jordan and my favorite book of all time, you know about the void and the flame.
I mixed this thought with a bit of basic psychology.
I have had trouble sleeping since my time in the military. I wouldn’t call it ptsd so much as just a hyperactive mind with maybe slight paranoa. So maybe I have a minor form of ptsd. I found that using the void and flame while trying to sleep, knocked me out in good time, but I wanted a bit of more out of it.
I was told, in my last year in the military, that I had major anxiety issues. My psychiatrist suggested that I breath deeply through my nose, fill the bottom of my lungs, and let the air escape through my mouth forcefully without me applying effort. The idea is to breathe deep through your nose, and let the air naturally push itself out of your mouth.
So what’s the purpose of talking about this? Another excellent question me.
I’ve combined these two ideas and used them in helping me study, take tests, sleep, deal with emergency issues, and now in writing. Here’s the process in list-form.
- Close your eyes and imagine the words BLANK in bold white lettering on a black empty field.
- Then imagine a flame burning the word away, until all that’s left is the flame on the black field.
- Breathe deeply through your nose, and as you breath deeply your flame will rise higher.
- Let the air escape your mouth and watch the flame shrink over time.
- As you’re breathing in, feed your thoughts and emotions into the flame.
- As you’re breathing out, focus on your breath and heartbeat
This takes me about 5 minutes each time for a quick meditation. It clears your mind, and it makes you feel revitalized and relaxed at the same time. Because of my hyperactivity and anxiety, this method is wonderful in helping me with a myriad of different issues.
The effects on my writing are explosive. Initially working on creation, I couldn’t place myself in my characters shoes as I kept running into mental roadblocks. 5 minutes of this process let me dive straight in, and after each break I did another 5 minutes and did it again. It. is. wonderful.
Give it a shot, it won’t hurt you. It’s just another trick I’ve found that helps me manage this world we find ourselves in. Hope it helps.
I'm a high school English teacher in Texas. I also hold degrees in radiography and radio and television broadcasting. Though I obtained certain knowledge and skills from my prior degrees, I do not currently use them.