Why Writers Should Practice Meditation – And How to Get Started

2013.4.10 Writing

Meditation is usually associated with relaxation and stress release, but those outcomes are more accurately by-products of the practice.

The true purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind.

When that happens, all kinds of personal benefits ensue, including improved health and resiliency, greater awareness, and the spiritual awakening that comes from tapping into one’s true nature.

A quiet mind allows you to move beyond thought to the place where we all create, which is the space between our thoughts, and that’s a good place to be if you are a writer.

Releasing Stress and Mental Blocks

The reason we experience stress, writer’s block, and other counter-productive behaviors and conditioned responses, is that we are stuck in our thoughts. The first challenge is recognizing this, and then ceasing to fight it, because any resistance only serves to immobilize you further.

The more you struggle with your thoughts the more you reinforce your physical condition. You are literally squeezing your thought patterns down to a few, thereby dramatically increasing their intensity. This leads to even greater levels of stress, including uncontrollable anger.

Find the Space Between Thoughts

Discovering the space between thoughts is something that healthy individuals do on a regular basis. It can happen by taking a walk through nature, or when actively engaged with activities you enjoy, such as writing.

The process of writing is different for everyone. However, for most of us it brings our attention inward, where we reconnect with our true selves, thereby making new discoveries.

To find the space between thoughts you have to first give yourself permission to do so. You have to trust your capabilities for getting there, just as a meditator will trust that the mantra will effectively lead to states of greater awareness.

How to Meditate

Traditional meditation involves the repetition of a mantra – which is a sound. The word mantra roughly translates as “instrument of the mind,” and its use helps to create the desired quieting of the mind.

A breath awareness meditation is a simple and universal approach – one in which the breath serves as the mantra.

Steps for practicing a mindfulness meditation

  1. While it helps to have a quiet environment, you can meditate on an airplane just well as in the privacy of your home. If possible, it also helps to dim the lights.

  2. Begin by sitting down. Get get comfortable and assume good posture, either sitting cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet on the ground. 

  3. Close your eyes and allow your awareness to go to your breathing. Innocently observe your breath as you breathe in and out. 

  4. As you observe your breath you may notice it changes – in speed, rhythm, and depth. It may even stop for a moment. Whatever happens, just continue observing it without expectation. 

  5. From time to time your attention may drift to a thought in your mind, a sensation in your body, or a noise in the environment. Whenever you notice you are not observing your breath, simply bring your awareness back to your breathing. 

  6. Continue this practice for at least 5 minutes, and for as long as it is comfortable. Over time you will be able to sustain the practice for the optimum period of 30 minutes.

  7. Keep your eyes closed when you decide to stop, and just remain silent for 30 seconds or so before getting up to allow your mind and body to stabilize.

  8. Slowly open your eyes, bring the lights up, and return to your writing.

Writing is a Process

I recently finished writing my first book: Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business. I can say with certainty that I experienced my share of writer’s block, frustration, and even a bit of anger because I was holding on too tight at times.

Having never written a complete book, I had some fears about its accomplishment. What I discovered was writing well is largely a process of remembering, and then extending those ideas further. That was possible by practicing ways to maintain a quiet mind.

Writing is a process, and once you find yours, everything becomes much easier. Then it’s just a matter of doing the work.

The same holds true for just about any endeavor, including social marketing.

In fact, the promise of Built-In Social is a reliable process that takes the stress and anxiety out of using social marketing well – including, and especially, writing valuable content that attracts business leads.

Are you and your business ready to write?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

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Thank You All

It is Thanksgiving here in the United States and I’d like to thank all of you that have crossed my path, and those who will do so some time in the near future.

Thank You Friends

I am thankful for how social media has connected me with so many interesting people that I would not have otherwise met.

I am also grateful for how it has reconnected me to so many friends that I have lost touch with over the years. As a result, I have learned more about you and your families and the journeys you are on – and that has been cool.

Thank You Practice

In particular, I am thankful for how this blog has connected me to so many new friends, colleagues, clients, influencers, and acquaintances.  It’s something I wish for you too, especially if you are a small business. This amazingly powerful technology is ideally suited for helping your business to be more relevant and relatable to the communities you serve.

Are you ready to make it a standard business practice?

Many of you have inspired me to continue this practice and develop it further, despite us hardly knowing each other. That too is a very nice outcome of this that I hope you now or soon will have the opportunity to enjoy.

Thank You Mistakes

I’m equally thankful for everyone who points out my mistakes or otherwise challenges me – here and at other venues where I am a live or virtual presenter. You have taught me to re-examine my work from new angles, and that always helps to crystalize my thinking for breaking new ground.

Of course, I don’t always agree with you because I know I cannot be all things to all people. Yet, you do help me understand those I cannot help, and that better clarifies who I can help and how.

If you are not making mistakes there is no learning, so I hope to keep making plenty more of them.

If everything is working out perfectly you should enjoy it. Just know that you’ll need to learn more to keep it going well.

Acknowledge mistakes, learn from them, but be indifferent to them emotionally. Attach your emotions instead to the circumstances in your life that are positive, rewarding, and if you are a business, profitable.

Most important is to try to learn how they happened. You need to know. And even though you may never get your answer, you should never stop asking.

Thank You Journey

I’m not there yet and hope I never will be, because when you stop learning you stop growing – and after that you start dying.

I’m definitely thankful for that.

How about you?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

Until next time, Jeff

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