Writing in the Present

ae9016eab77aae74082dc516ae85b8a4 Writing is another form of mindful meditation. Mindful or contemplative writing is an action of the mind captured on the page. When the writer engages with her writing tools—pen & paper and/or fingers & keys—she has to enter into that action. Her mind repeats that action and travels again through the action. It is a movement of the self through an activity of mindful thinking, so by the time she gets to the end, she is different than she was at the beginning. Mindful writing is a practice as well as an act.

Contemplative writing practice is a way to get things flowing—from thoughts, to breath, to words, to language, and finally to the page. The writing may be linear, fragmented, circular, and repetitive in both body and mind. The practice allows the writer to maintain awareness of thoughts and feelings as the physical action of writing takes place. Mindful practices cultivate a critical, first-person focus, sometimes with direct experience, while at other times concentrating on complex ideas or situations. Incorporated into daily life, they act as a reminder to connect to what we find most meaningful.

Mindful writing occurs when I become aware of the patterns and the process of creating. It is here that I shift to become the observer in order to keep the one being observed contained within the act of writing—in the present moment—free from the past and future. The writing then becomes free from internal and external distractions. It becomes more somatic. In this solitary action (the transcription of a dialogue between self and soul—if you will), transformation can surface and take shape.

Contemplative practices are practical, radical, and transformative, developing capacities for deep concentration and quieting the mind in the midst of the action and distraction that fills everyday life. Mindful practices can help develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and attention, reduce stress and enhance creativity, supporting a loving and compassionate approach to life.

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