Friday, February 5, 2010

Toochis ofn tish, which means, literally, ass on the table.

A few months ago, I started meditating for five minutes every morning. After a couple weeks I worked up to ten minutes. Now, I attempt to set aside another ten minutes every evening. I do not do it perfectly. But, as Chris Gardner (the subject of the film THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS) said; "It's okay to fail, it's not okay to quit."

Meditation has had a dramatic effect on my writing. It has empowered me to find my voice. Which is a paradox, because I think of meditation as listening. But the effect of listening in this way has been to create a clear channel through which my deepest creative impulses can travel, and eventually speak.

This all started because my writing coach (Rachel Resnick) pointed out how much stronger my voice was during in-class exercises, like the Ex Voto piece I posted last week. There was an authority there that would appear only sporadically in the pages I was turning in to workshop. She had suggested that I meditate before writing. Being the A Plus student that I am, I took her suggestion.

Cristia Cummings, an artist and healer, taught me what is called "loving kindness meditation" back in Savannah. I have tried Kundalini Yoga at Golden Bridge in Hollywood which I also found liberating. In Hawaii, I visited a Korean Temple (see photo) dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, where I took a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Meditation but I had never found a meditation format I could stick with.

After talking with a friend I began using a mantra to focus my attention. This friend has been meditating for thirty minutes morning and evening every day for the last twenty-six years. I figured she was doing something right. I have also been checking in with her from time to time to keep track of my progress. It helps to be accountable to someone other than my cat.

My experience has been that meditating consistently is more important that how one goes about it. Not unlike writing. It might not be some white light experience every day, but if I just sit down and shut up, chances are I'll be listening when the muse speaks. As the old Yiddish saying goes toochis ofn tish, which means, literally, ass on the table.

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