Writing Practice & the Study of Mind…
A reflection on practice by Sean Murphy
Mindfulness of mind is one of the central practices of Buddhism, and writing can be a highly effective tool for investigating this particularly transformative aspect of practice — especially when the mind has been clarified through extended meditation. Where do the words and thoughts that populate our minds arise from? Through the practice of focused, dispassionate observation we may find that when we look closely we cannot discover their source. There’s no apparent ‘self’ generating them or ‘location’ from which they arise.
This discovery in itself — and the associated insight that we are not our thoughts, and are not limited by our thinking minds, can be transformative. Writing practice, also known as freewriting, is a uniquely deep method for clarifying this process of studying the mind, opening up the creative flow and liberating the natural, uncontrived voice, while allowing us to discover what words and thoughts may arise when the ego doesn’t get in the way. Through working directly with words and thoughts, we may find ourselves able to let go of certain long-held patterns and beliefs that are encoded through them, that make up the story known as the ‘self’.
What happens when we let go and simply allow our words and thoughts flow freely onto the page without filtering or editing or ‘trying’ to say something beautiful or profound or impressive? We may find ourselves surprised at the results. We may find that beauty and wisdom can arise naturally from the mind of emptiness, without ‘trying’. We may discover that we are able to step beyond our conditioned view of ourselves, and perhaps even find ourselves touching that deep intuitive source from which all creation and insight springs — the source known as not-self. Then we’re free to experience the joy and wisdom which comes with making that connection. Engaging in the creative process with joyful interest and openhearted mindfulness can be a wonderful vehicle for freeing up honesty, authenticity and the essence energy of creativity, all of which help to create the conditions that allow for a direct revelation of insight into the not-self nature of all things.
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