hose in a circle

Why Write

Hello Dear Friends, Please consider this e-zine as support for following the fundamental instructions of Warriorship, from a sister in arms.  I am a writer like you; more to the point, someone who believes in your voice, a multitude of voices. So submit something. If you can manage to drop doubt and hesitation, we at bDharma will support you in this endeavor of having your voice heard. Your Friend and Editor, Eileen

When you write, you can look at what you’ve said and ask yourself, is that true? Do I really think that? That is far more than we normally do when blathering to our friends or ourselves.

Writing is beneficial to the mind, for reasons I will outline below.  But first to say, we generally use words to talk, where at least half the energy goes to the relationship with the person you’re talking to.  Otherwise you’re writing email, where the goal is to say what you’re saying in the fewest words possible.  So essay writing is a unique form of communication that deserves more attention than it gets.

When I suggest to people that they submit something to bDharma, in general, the response is for people to become bashful, shy, or embarrassed by the suggestion. But writing is good for you. It focuses your mind and clarifies your thinking.  You can take a fuzzy, half-formed notion and sharpen the image, realizing what you really think.

Writing brings out thoughts.  “Language is the lure of concept”, as Vygotsky said.  This might seem antipathetical to meditation, but I can acknowledge the production of narrative as  skandha activity, and find the great power in that.  Besides, if you don’t create your own narratives, you’re likely to latch on to one borrowed from some documentary you watched, or something your psychotherapist suggested, or some half-baked childhood memory.

You may protest that by writing, you’re wearing the grooves of the storylines you tell yourself ever deeper.  Yes, that’s true, but it can equally go the other direction, where expressing the thing pops it, or releases its hold on you. That is to say, you can “change your mind” through writing. Not in the ultimate sense of altering the fundamental nature of your mind.  No.  But in the ordinary sense of, oh, I changed my mind, I’ll have the blackened cod.

Expression is a close cousin to awareness, and therefore much to be valued. The kleshas are a form of awareness, as long as you recognize them as such.  And what better route to recognition than expression? Gentle expression.  Thoughtful, but not over-thought, expression.

You think you have nothing to say?  But you talk to yourself and your friends and family all the time.  Co-workers, support people, all that is expressing something, isn’t it? So why not commit some of it to the page, see what it’s made of, ask yourself if it really makes sense at all?

Once, a big obstacle for me was feeling like I had to have something grandly significant to say.  Not at all.  As the Sakyong said recently, a normal life is built on a mountain of merit. Therefore, I conclude, it should be respected completely. Sometimes it’s helpful to me to have an assignment.  Here I am offering you an assignment: a day in your life. “A day in the life of……” is always immediate and interesting.  How about your thoughts on love, or hatred, or whatever strikes your fancy?

Let’s be together in this way, through the public, written word.  Drop me a line, or 500-50,000 words on your favorite topic.

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