Ok, so this might be my only post on spirituality. That’s because this blog is about writing not about spirituality. But this I think this is important for those who believe that spirituality is a big part of their lives. I wanted to recommend ways that have helped me utilize spirituality to help me in my writing.
My opinion is that artists are like boats. (I know what your thinking, first we were satellite dishes now we’re boats? Listen, people, I’m trying here.) As boats we carry things across the water. That water is life, and it’s crazy and it splashes all over the place, and it churns, and it’s confusing, and it’s noisy, and sometimes there are whirlpools.
But artists do a pretty crazy thing. We try to slow down and attempt to float above this crazy water. We look above the water and because we are some of the very few who do so, we notice all of the things that need to be carried across the water: ideas, thoughts, emotions, etc. Because we are the only few who notice that there’s something that needs to be carried across this busy water, we are given the responsibility to carry that something across that water. Thus, we become the boats that carry god’s (or the universe’s or the nature’s) Big Message.
But first, as writers and artists we need to be really good at slowing down and learning how to float above that crazy water, or else we won’t be able to see the things that need to get across that water. I think we often need spirituality to help us with this.
I believe spirituality can be defined as meditation, prayer, time spent with nature (like walks on the beach or hiking in the mountains), or simply sitting in the middle of a cafe or coffee shop and listening. Listening to the words, noting the subtext in people’s conversations, the body language, the way the sunlight falls outside, the wind through the palm leaves, heels licking the tile floor… the striking silence beneath it all. For me, all this falls underneath spirituality. Spirituality is a communion with something bigger than us.
Spirituality is looking through a telescope and catching a glimpse of the surface of the moon and going: Woah. I’m so incredibly insignificant, and there’s something out there that’s a lot more smarter and important than me that’s making all this work.
How do we bring spirituality into our creative lives? Here are some recommendations for increasing your ability to float above life’s blazing current:
- Are you a blocked artist? I highly recommend The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s what has helped me gain more confidence as a writer and has helped me keep writing my novel, which eventually led me to start this blog. Even if you are not an artist but would like to be more creative, definitely read this book. If you are allergic to religion or spirituality, you should still take a look at it with an open mind.
- Buddhism is more a way of life than a religion. If you are looking for a way to deal with your stress, emotional pain or suffering, you should learn from an ancient wisdom that’s tried and true. I recommend starting with The Heart of The Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh.
- If you don’t like all this spiritual babble and it has just turned you off, then I recommend a more scientific approach to basically the same thing. You might want to read: Minding the Body, Mending the Mind by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. Dr. Borysenko is a Harvard psychologist who provides the clearest and most practical instruction on how to use meditation in daily life that I’ve ever read.
The key to spirituality is constant practice. Which I have to admit, is something I struggle with as well. But even just trying can be a positive step forward.
Good luck floating above the water!