Riding the roller-coaster of life: writing & spirituality.

Via on Nov 21, 2011

“When you are present, the world is truly alive.” ~ Natalie Goldberg

When I was younger, I read Natalie Goldberg’s classic, Writing Down the Bones. In it she says many sensible and wise things about being a writer. She also talks about her practice as a Buddhist.

I was a proud atheist at the time. But the things she talked about (mindfulness, faith) seeped into me somewhere. Seeds were planted.

Fast-forward to the present day, and I’m married to a Buddhist priest. I’ve set out on the long path towards my own Ordination. My practice as a Buddhist is important to me on many levels. I never would have believed it.

As a writer and a Buddhist, I am fascinated by the links between spirituality (however you conceptualise it for yourself) and writing. What are they?

I think that spirituality and writing put us in touch with something larger than our ‘small selves’. Something that knows better than we do. You could see this as mother nature, with her seasons and her endless recycling, or you could see it as something more mystical. Either way, connecting with what’s around us can help us access ‘non-self’ wisdom.

I also think that having a reliable spiritual and writing practice steadies us. Life is a roller-coaster. Knowing that we write every day, or that we bow three times before the Buddha, gives us a place to return to, a structure, a reassuring constancy in the middle of impermanence. A refuge.

Finally, spirituality and writing open us up – softening us – so we can connect more mindfully with those around us (including the planet). It helps us learn about ourselves, and others. It helps us see more clearly (including the bits we’d rather not see). Ultimately, it helps us to love.

I’d love to hear what you think about the links between spirituality and writing – do share in the comments below.

I’ll leave you with another quote from Natalie, just in case you need it today.

“Stress is basically a disconnection from the earth, a forgetting of the breath. Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important. Just lie down.”

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In January you have an opportunity to combine writing and spirituality with our ‘river of stones’. We will be challenging you to write one small stone (a short observational piece) a day – find out more here, get some practice in and enjoy.

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Photo by LarimdaME (Creative Commons) – used with thanks.

About Writing Our Way Home

Kaspa & Fiona’s eyes met across a crowded room in 2010. They decided to: a) get married & spend their rest of our lives together, & b) pool their passions & talents to give birth to Writing Our Way Home. Their mission of helping people to connect with the world through writing. They offer a smorgasbord of writing e-courses, & run a thriving community. Read more about their mindful writing practice, small stones, and meet Lorrie in Fiona’s free ebook. / Fiona is a published novelist, therapist, creativity coach, & is very fond of earl grey and home-made cake. Kaspa is a Buddhist priest, writer, therapist, drama enthusiast, & is still learning to play the ukulele.

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3 Responses to “Riding the roller-coaster of life: writing & spirituality.”

  1. Shale Marks says:

    writing can take me to a place where i see what i absolutely believe to be the truth about my life, and turn it into a lie. it's wonderful. the Truth shall set you free, but just before it does it really pisses you off.

  2. Anna Sheinman SOFLY_Anna says:

    writing keeps me sane…otherwise my head will explode from all the ideas, thoughts and rumblings. I like to freestyle, and also organize my writing into something others can read – which helps me to organize my thoughts and ideas.

  3. [...] are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de [...]

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