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Posts tagged ‘Buddhism’

10 WAYS THAT MEDITATION IS LIKE WRITING

May 22, 2014

brookeburgess

Meditation is like Writing

(by Brooke Burgess)

Long time, no post!  But rest assured, dear friends…I’ve been busy, albeit quiet.

And quiet is the operative term.

After receiving some helpful (and surprisingly glowing) beta reader feedback on my first novel, I completed a round of draft revisions in April and the work is currently under agent and publisher review.  Then, struggling to exercise the patience of the proverbial saints, I felt the call for another adventure in Silence.

Enter the Silence

I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence that a strong first draft of a 230-page children’s fantasy novel was completed in less that ten weeks.  I give a newfound commitment to meditative practice the lion’s share of the credit.  So, with pre-publishing edits on the first book looming, the second book in the Shadowland Saga fully outlined (title TBA soon!), and following a slow recovery from some tropical nastiness (dengue fever and Giardia parasites = good times!), the twin batteries of intuition and mindfulness were in desperate need of a recharge.

The last meditation retreat in September stirred up some long-buried emotions.  But it also rewarded me with renewed clarity, increased mental fortitude, and a powerful set of tools to apply to life and to the creative process.  And with another block of 17hr days filled with deep sits, contemplative footsteps, and radiant Metta, it quickly became clear how many parallels there are between meditation and writing.

Off the top of my (currently empty) head, here are 10 that stand out:

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My First Guru Had Four Feet

October 15, 2013

brookeburgess

Old Ghost...

(the following is reposted from a submission of mine that was featured on Tiny Buddha last month, and again on Life As a Widower.  It’s a true story from my childhood, though my folks would probably say I was leaning into ‘literary license’ territory. ;)  That said, this is the unedited version of the tale, which includes a pictorial peek at my old stomping grounds.  More importantly, I want to commemorate the completion of the outline for a long-in-development series of four children’s books, directly inspired by the events recounted below.  For all of you taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo…know that I’m there in the literary trenches with you – BB)

webmd_rm_photo_of_green_eyed_cat

I’ve always been a ‘cat guy’.  This was long before my Buddhist friends told me stories of how cats are true earthly masters, here on earth to show us the Way. Or, to demonstrate the meditative perfection of the feline purr.  Or, how the life of a cat is seen in some traditions as reward for ‘good Karma’.

When I lived in rural Nova Scotia, the house was blessed with two cats named Midge and Mooch: tabby mixes, who would come and go as they pleased, and were kind enough…if not overly affectionate.  I kept asking for a cat of my own, and my folks eventually buckled.  For my seventh birthday, I received a black and white kitten with golden eyes and a salmon-pink nose.  He took to me instantly. Love at first meow.

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Of Endings and Enlightenment (RIP)

September 10, 2013

brookeburgess

Of Endings and Englightenment
(I’m breaking with formalities and the usual distractions to feature not only a ‘mindful’ side of the creative process – meditation practice – but also to honour one of my most treasured personal influences.   Joanne Telfer passed away in Sept 2008, and I haven’t spoken of it publicly since.  I hope you’ll do me the kindness of enduring this lengthy and somewhat maudlin post for the sincere revelations within.   Many thanks, BB)

 

This hurts.  

So much so that I don’t want to be here anymore. 
 
All I can think is that I’d rather be with you.  Wherever that is.
You’d probably just mock me, and call it a ‘cop-out’.
 
I haven’t suffered anything compared to you.
 
But you only need to see it once, remember?

You only need to know that it’s real…

 

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It seemed like a grand idea at the time.  Self-discovery!  Personal improvement!  Spiritual progression!  Ten days at a remote Buddhist retreat in southeast Thailand.  Eighteen hours each day to focus on ‘mindfulness’, in whatever task was assigned.

The wake-up bell at 4AM.  Using candlelight to wash and dress oneself.   Bare feet on cold, wet grass.  Orion’s jewelled belt pointing the way through the jungle from a sky made of black velvet.

The sexes sit on opposite sides of the sand-floored sala.  This divide persists for the duration.  Separate dorms.  Dining areas. Walking paths.  Eye contact is discouraged.  A deeper, deafening silence.

And then the day truly begins…

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