“For us the preparation of this book
has itself been a meditation.
It has been permeated from the outset
with the love and spiritual purpose that
we have come to know and treasure
through our guru, Nem Karoli Baba.
We offer it to you as
an invitation to join the feast.”
Ram Das and friends
Journey of Awakening,
A Meditator’s Handbook
Everyone has a book in them, a story that wants to be told. Most of us keep it inside, hidden in a corner of our soul, or shared as anecdotes among family and friends. Many use personal journals as an ongoing dialogue with ourselves, as a private way of meditating.
There is a very thin line between writing personal journals in our private chambers and becoming a published writer, cross that thin line and suddenly all your writing is meditation.
In fact, writing is such a perfect way to meditate, you feel drawn to it all day, every day! And even when this way of meditating is not easy or peaceful, not church-like spiritual, even when it is an endlessly frustrating struggle, even then it is the perfect opportunity for meditation.
POSTITS ON MONITOR … “MINI-MEDITATIONS”
There are little postits all around the edges of my monitor. Daily reminders of this incredible experience as a working writer, making a living at it. I know I’ve been given a wonderful gift.
And yet often in the daily struggle that comes with this gift, I forget, and I need these reminders to be grateful. So, little notes keep going back and forth between me and some mysterious creator. The current note just above the center of the keyboard reads:
“Writing this book is your conscious contact with
the creator within you. Expect miracles. Focus,
trust and The Creator will show you the best way.”
And yet I could kick myself for waiting so long—it took me almost fifty years to cross that thin line from journal writing to being a working professional.
As long as I remember I’ve wanted to write: Diaries in high school. Later a campus newspaper columnist. My articles appeared in a couple hundred professional journals over a few decades, self-promotional and marketing stuff that many business and financial executives write, not to make a living, but to build name recognition in the business world.
Then at age fifty-seven came the ah-ha moment, an epiphany, a sudden awareness that what I loved most in life was writing! Regardless of which career I was in—banking, law, film, architecture, real estate, psychology—writing was my true love. I knew then that I had no choice, I had to become a full-time writer, which meant making a living at it. I had to “do what I love, and trust the money would indeed follow!”
Easier said than done. That fear kept me, and keeps many others, on the safe side of the thin line. The first four years were scary—like most other writers, I was tested. Made little money. Loaded credit cards going deep in debt. But I had to do it: Edited a financial newsletter. Self-published a book. Finally got three successive books published by a major house. I was still struggling when “the break” finally came, an unexpected fluke. I was offered steady work as a financial journalist during the dot.com boom. More books got published. I was finally making a living as a full-time professional writer.
BECOMING ONE WITH THE SOURCE
LOST IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Finally, after six years I became aware of how powerful writing is as a way of meditating. One day was especially intense and busy. I got lost in writing all day. Suddenly I noticed it was dark out. Everyone had left, hours earlier. I finished what I was doing, shut down the computer, made copies of some drafts to review later at home, grabbed my coat and briefcase, locked the door and turned to walk toward the elevator.
We had a long gray, nondescript hallway that snaked around to the elevator bank … then something struck me … I broke into a smile … a sense of peace came over me … I really was doing what I love … and yet, I got so lost in what I was writing all day I never once thought about God, as I occasionally do … nor thought that the day was some kind of spiritual experience … nor that it had been the perfect meditation … and yet it was all that and more!
Then as I began “thinking” about the day, a new “story” began emerging … whoever God was, he, she or it must have been thinking about me all day, even if I wasn’t thinking about them … and that this day was exactly what meditation and spiritual experiences were all about, without ever thinking about it that way … and that got a real good chuckle … suddenly I was aware that all that happened really didn’t need an elaborate post-mortem, with fancy labels … yet there I was, labeling it! So I went home, had dinner with my wife, a good laugh, and got totally into some mindless television program.
Maybe that day would have been as equally memorable a spiritual experience if I had been in any other business or profession, I sure hope so because I want the same for everyone. But I am certain it happened to me while writing. And I know that a life of writing is my way of meditating, it is my conscious contact with my inner creator and the Creator of the Universe!
AT FAHRENHEIT 451
OUR DEMONS ESCAPE … CREATING NEW GODS!
The great masters echo the same message. Take the prolific science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, author of the classic Fahrenheit 451. In Zen and the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You, Bradbury teases us: “What, you ask, does writing teach us?”
First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been rewarded …
Second, writing is survival. Any art, any good work, of course, is that. Not to write, for many of us, is to die … I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy. An hour’s writing is tonic.
We use the grand and beautiful facts of existence in order to put up with the horrors that afflict us directly in our families and friends, or through the newspapers and TV …
The poets and artists of other years, long past, knew all and everything I have said here …”
How about you—uneasy? Near lunacy? Afraid you won’t survive? Don’t feel alive? Write, write, write!
Writing is the one meditation that works with or without knowing why. Just write, in writing you will release the demons, and release the creative genius within you, for you will be in contact with some mysterious universal creator that wants out. And as Bradbury says, releasing both of them is the fire that makes for great books.