Meditation and dreams provide material and inspiration for poetry, drama and fiction. In these states, where the conscious mind is relaxed and detached from the concerns of daily living, part of the brain is free to create.
Meditation is not the same as relaxation although it can help you become a more relaxed person. When you meditate, you try to focus your attention on your breath, on sounds around you or on other things. By doing so, you force your mind to stop worrying, planning and thinking. As your mind starts to abandon the gerbils inside your head that like to spin their merry wheels, it will imagine and make connections.
Let yourself expect it to come easy. Just try to sit for ten minutes in a comfortable quiet place and breathe. That’s all you have to do when meditating. Just breathe. As you breathe in, say “peace” or any word you like. Then, as you breathe out say “love” if that suits you. Whatever you decide to do that day, do it for ten minutes. You don’t have to assume the lotus position unless that’s what you like. But the point is that this is your meditation session, and you get to decide what you’re going to do. The only stipulation is that you sit still for ten minutes.
What is this kooky stuff? It works. Athletes do it before football games. As Awaken.com reports, LeBron James always meditates. Many doctors who have patients with anxiety ask them to meditate. This is chronicled in Psychology Today.
But what does it have to do with writing? Before you write, you are busy going through your day grading papers or doing math homework. You might be washing dishes or taking orders. When you stop doing those activities, your mind is a little dirty from concentrating on doing all of that correctly. When you stop and meditate, you are cleaning your mind so that you have a clean slate to write. Also, as you practice meditating, intuitive thoughts will come, new ideas will pop into your head more often and more energy will be available. These are things that will help your writing. After all, who can say that their writing and their lives couldn’t use a little more intuition, creativity and stamina.
There are many ways of meditating. Please follow whichever school appeals to you. There are Eastern and Western approaches to meditation or contemplation. Now, that you know it can help you, you can seek one out that helps you.
You might want to keep writing tools handy for when you finish your session. You might have something new to write!
In dreams, your conscious mind is paused. Your superconscious mind is coming up with all sorts of goodies for you. Some people have said that they dream somethings that have then happened. Their more practical friends will call them flighty and tell them that they had a dream and then made it happen by acting a certain way. That thread begets argument. Writers have said that they use material from their dream states to create.
Action is limited and relative. Unlimited and absolute is the vision of him who sits at ease and watches, who walks in loneliness and dreams.Oscar Wilde
Our job is to harness the imagery and substance of our dreams into usable material. We are like very good hunters who will use every piece of the animal that we have hunted in order to waste nothing. Within these dreams lie the sinew and bones that make up the imagery that lightens up a poem or shrouds it in shadow as the case may be. As Oscar Wilde says, our vision will be unlimited when we walk through our dreams.
But how? In the beginning, it might be difficult for you to remember your dreams. This is all right. Keep a notebook and pencil by your bed just for taking notes about your dreams. Don’t stress about this. Stress will kill all the good stuff. Write down whatever you can. Embellish if you want because it is about invention not about repetition. There is a reason why a little notebook works better than a phone or tablet. The notebook will not let you Instagram.
The point of all of this is to keep your creative mind nimble and strong. These are exercises. If you want to write that novel or that short story or those twenty blog posts, meditation and dreams will help.