My Write Mind
Anyone who doubts the theory of perpetual motion has not been inside my head.
It is a machine that doesn’t stop running. One thought snowballs into another. If my brain were a mountain, red triangular signs would warn of avalanches and hidden cliffs.
I can’t stop the frenzy of thought, but I can direct it.
The notion of emptying my mind through traditional meditation is kind of like telling a toddler to sit still—it’s an unrealistic practice. I’ve had to find alternative ways to guide my thoughts. Namely, I write.
Writing makes my head stop spinning in circles. It puts thought on a trajectory outward. It’s how I get ‘out of my head.’ There is something in the prattling of those keys. Something in the sound of it. I imagine it’s the way a gentle rain sounds to most people. When I listen to gentle rain, all I can think of is all the things I could be doing instead of listening to gentle rain.
I’ve experienced a writer’s Nirvana. It is when I am so consumed by what I am writing that I cease to be writing at all. The action of the next thought dissolves into a great drive of purpose, where thoughts connect seamlessly. All water leads to the ocean, and in my write mind, all thought leads to the page.
I didn’t know that writing was medicine until I got clean and sober. My thoughts didn’t always have an outlet. Instead of expressing them outwardly, a crazy swirl of thought—spiraling inward—drove me crazy.
In recovery I project those thoughts outward. And the universe is infinite.
Here are 5 common benefits of meditation (pooled from various websites) that are benefits my writing practice:
- Improved Focus: The topic or idea becomes a permanent fixture. The thoughts that don’t lead to it are quickly abandoned. I fix my thoughts on one thing, and let everything else blur beyond the margin.
- Less Anxiety: The calm that comes from accessing my write mind is similar to a runner’s high. I can feel the endorphins release. I will note that the process to relieve anxiety can be an anxious one. I never start in that blissful place. I work up to it. I have to write about utter nonsense until an idea comes that I can focus on.
- Personal Transformation: Writing has transformed my life. The practice makes all the shitty days worthwhile somehow. It brings clarity, insight, and—since starting this blog—a wonderful community.
- More Creativity: I define creativity as looking ahead for something new, not behind at something old. That’s just my definition. I believe there are many ways to stay creative in everyday existence. It’s the difference between watching a movie you know will interest you, and channel surfing to kill time. My write mind keeps me looking ahead, keeps me creative, keeps me looking for something new.
- Peace of Mind: This can best be explained by the chaos of mind I experience when I don’t write. If I don’t release those thoughts outward, I go crazy. I imagine it’s like surfing. You paddle your ass off to catch a wave, to lose yourself in the ride. Not writing would mean paddling my ass off and watching wave after wave pass me by. I wrote a story for Transformation Is Real about this.
Lighting a candle and sitting still never gave me the same loss of self that writing does. I chase thoughts through all sorts of neuron-highways and back streets. Closing my eyes just makes the journey like driving at night without headlights and a GPS rambling on with its “re-calculating” every minute.
I need active meditation. And writing isn’t the only way I get there.
The calmest I am all week is when I’m playing pickup basketball on Tuesday nights. I remove the necessity of the mind to think. I just react. It is blissful.
Prayer is asking, and meditation is listening. Unfortunately, I hear all sorts of crazy shit when I listen to my thoughts. But give them an activity, a purpose: put my hands to work, and I reach new places—I create.