Prolific writer Sri Chinmoy once said:
“There is a vast difference between what you can get from the mind and what you can get from the heart. The mind is limited; the heart is unlimited.”
10 steps towards writing from the heart:
- Meditate regularly every day, at least for 5 minutes first thing in the morning, and again before you write. Simply focus your attention on your spiritual heart in the centre of your chest. If you like you can try to listen to your own heartbeat, or imagine that you have become the heart itself. If any thoughts enter the mind, just return your attention to the heart.
- Keep an area pure and clean in which to meditate. It’s a good idea to have a bath or shower first, and to keep the room well aired. You can bring in fragrances such as incense, something from nature that inspires you such as a fresh flower, and perhaps a picture of something meaningful to you. Keep a separate area for writing, and introduce similar sources of purity and inspiration there.
- Writing is not just something that happens while you are typing or putting pen to paper. Writing from the heart means being constantly aware of one’s surroundings. This is what Buddhists call “mindfulness”. It will not only bring you a fuller experience of life, but also lead to deeper and more authentic writing. Get into the habit of simply observing the world – people, nature, each of your own senses, and your own feelings.
- When you are used to observing your surroundings, you will naturally start to accept things as they are. You may see the same scenes day in and day out. The mind may tire of them, but if you observe from the heart, you will find new beauty and inspiration.
- Observation and acceptance naturally engender love, gratitude and joy. These are invaluable keys to meaningful writing. Conveying these experiences through words will help others to see beauty and inspiration in their own lives.
- Protect that effort you have made to see and feel things in a positive way. Unconstructive criticism, anger, and jealousy can thwart our inspiration and prevent us writing from the heart, whether they come from ourselves or from other people. Try to avoid encountering these negative forces. If you cannot avoid them, try not to pay attention to them.
- When you are in the habit of observing your surroundings, allow words to come to you, even without the intention of writing them down. When words are not written down, they have more freedom. Practise describing to yourself the things you see.
- Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Only when a sequence of words comes to you and thrills your heart, write it down, and let more words grow around it.
- Do not let the mind plan a finished product. Let the writing blossom and become what it wants to be. That way it will have its own authenticity and integrity, and the result will be more valuable.
- Trust the creative process that comes from the heart, but also use the mind to polish and revise your writing. Sometimes that which comes from the heart can benefit from a little clarification.
Article by Sumangali Morhall