Merriam-Webster, our dictionary fave says that “meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state”. If you go into more detail, you can find almost infinite concepts of meditation, depending on culture, religion, even social circumstances…
Concentrating on your work, and that definitely includes writing can be a double-edged sword. The idea is to clear your mind, and besides all the health benefits meditation brings, to tie all the loose strands that will make a certain piece of your writing exactly what you want it to be. Exactly as it should be. But concentrating too much on it can become confusing and can lead you into a thinking stalemate.
Meditating, concentrating on a certain piece from another art form, might lead a writer to see his work through the eyes of another artist, another thinking person and help him find his way through the maze of his personal thoughts.
Music seems to be one of the favourite art forms that are advised and used for meditation. There’s even a separate branch labeled meditation music, usually instrumental, of a calm nature that is intended to clear your mind and focus your thoughts. Sure, if it works for you. It doesn’t have to. As writing is such a personal, individual process, so is the music that can clear your thoughts and inspire a writer to tie all those loose threads or steer him in a right direction.
Learning recently of the death of Marty Balin, one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane, a great songwriter, singer, musician, led me to listen again to “Coming Back To Me,” one of his masterpieces from the Surrealistic Pillow album. The moment the quiet passion of Balin’s voice came in, contours of an adulthood story set in, within an hour and repeated listening to the song, the story was there.
Now, I’m not sure if the whole process of ‘pure’ meditation was involved, but the trigger, focusing on a piece of ‘another art’ was there, and so was the writing.
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