Writing the Mind

Writing the Mind

Writing the MindWriting the Mind

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 09:00

Most of us have toyed with “Dear Diary” sort of writing at one time or another. Maybe as stormy adolescents trying to work out the tumultuous complexity of our lives, we confessed it all in a private journal.

But few people hold onto a journaling practice into adulthood. Maybe it feels awkward, unnecessary, or just silly. But there is a sacred power in our words, especially when we write them down. And it’s not about confessing our deepest desires or working out a difficult conflict; to write down your consciousness is, in itself, a truly blessed act. This may sound overwhelming if not entirely alarming, except that there is really nothing simpler.

The practice of automatic writing involves confronting the moment as it is and boldly setting down the trail of thinking and non-thinking—embracing and rejecting certainty and doubt in the words as they are moving through you. As we constantly live somewhere amidst these polarities, to jot down your thoughts with as little self-editing as you can manage can be not only greatly informative, but a rejuvenating act in itself. When you practice automatic writing, the only goal is to keep going. Keep your pencil moving and do not stop until you’ve filled at least three pages. Let the process take over and relax. Like meditation, it is a practice, though in many ways it’s much easier. You can record your thoughts one minute and let them go the next. There is really no wrong way to do it. Set aside a time of day and a notebook and make it a ritual. You may find the simple act of it refreshing and cleansing, allowing you to start or finish your day with a clear head. What accumulates on the pages isn’t important. Perhaps, through the process, you will have a revelation or gain clarity on something you’ve been mulling over. Or it may not make a lick of sense; but that’s OK, too! Try not to tie specific goals to it and keep it lighthearted. When you’re finished, you can throw the papers away or even burn them as a means to cleanse your mind.

There is a subtle boldness in writing that is powerful. When we step away from the belief that there is a “right” and “wrong” way to do it, the act itself can become a useful tool for a contemplative lifestyle.


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