Friday, October 07, 2011

 

Friday Speak Out!: Making Meditation a Part of Your Writing Practice, Guest Post by Michelle Cromer

Making Meditation a Part of Your Writing Practice

by Michelle Cromer

You can’t turn on the TV, open a magazine or boot up your computer without bumping into someone singing the praises of meditation. The first time I told my orthopedic surgeon husband I wanted to meditate he accused me of joining a hippie cult. That was six years ago, and now he meditates every morning before performing surgery.

There are many different types of meditations, such as Zen, yoga, guided imagery, and creative visualization, and each culture seems to have its own unique meditations. I practice Transcendental Meditation, often known simply as TM, a type of meditation that helps the person meditating to focus on one thing—a sound—thus cutting down on scattered thoughts and other distractions. This sound, or mantra, cleanses the body and mind of negative thoughts and energy and helps develop a point of concentration. People who meditate have fewer doctor visits and can lower their blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress hormones. They have less heart disease, less depression, and increased confidence. They are calmer. But the one point that sold me is that meditation seems to slow the aging process. After months and months of TM, I was able to let go of the zillion thoughts that pass through my frenzied brain, but this took practice and commitment.

Om is said to be the basis of all sound and is so widely acknowledged in our culture that it is usually the first sound someone thinks of in relationship to meditation. Meditation is the awareness of the flow of reality, space, and time. Unlike philosophy, which strives to achieve an order through mental reasoning alone, meditation looks for a deep acceptance; a knowing that comes from the mind.

I commit to once a day, thirty minutes. I work these thirty minutes into my daily schedule. On the days I am in and out of airports, I meditate on the airplane. The people sitting next to me assume I am asleep.

Meditation teaches us to become less attached to our jealousies, fears, and judgments. Meditation allows us to engage in our work and hobbies, but without defining ourselves in terms of them. As the Bible says, “Being in the world, but not of the world.” Through mediation our sense of self remains steady and complete, no matter what chaos or crisis happens to be in our lives or in the news. We maintain our center and thus our balance.

Here is one simple way to make meditation a part of your routine. Before you begin to write, take 88 breaths. The number 8 means strength. Start by counting to 44, don’t think about anything else, and just count. Here’s the pay off, around breath 44 you will start to relax. Your mind will let go of distractions. The next 44 breaths will feel like nirvana. Now you are ready to begin writing.

Mediation can enhance your writing and change your life.

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 On September 1, Balboa Press/Hay House released Michelle Cromer’s spiritual memoir, Where Am I Going? Moving From Religious Tourist to Spiritual Explorer, endorsed by Caroline Myss. A woman of contradictions, Michelle believes that spirituality and capitalism can co-exist, that you have to sit still to get somewhere, and that - despite her best efforts - there are some questions for which the answers only come when you stop asking.  She lives with her family in El Paso, where her nonprofit works to bring justice for the missing and murdered in Juarez.  Where Am I Going is Michelle’s third book.

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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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