Tuesday, 31 July 2012

No place like om

Okay, I admit it, you caught me on the hop. I was miles away, blissed out in non-space. No, not daydreaming - a little further on from that. I was meditating. 


Sometimes, when a plot line is fragmenting before my eyes or a character refuses to do what I tell them to (and, more importantly, doesn't give me any other suggestions), I retreat within. No mountain, lotus posture (not with these hips) or kaftan required. Just stillness and the breath. It needn't take long, just a few minutes to recalibrate and remind myself what it's all really about.


Don't get me wrong, I do get through a surprising quantity of snack foods, chocolate (it's a separate category for me) and peppermint tea. And I often love the backdrop of jazz, classical or something from the sixties. But sometimes I get so tangled up and carried away by the business of writing that I forget it's a choice. And not in a good way.


So, here are a few thoughts about the benefits of meditation in the workplace - for those of us lucky enough to have that option.


1. One of the objectives of meditation is integration. No more dichotomies between how you want to behave in your own time and how you feel you need to behave in work life.

2. A mind that in clutter-free is more likely to respond well to stressful situations, difficult people (which could be the same thing), and changing priorities. You can become the still centre of the storm, regardless of what's going on around you. 

3. A clear mind is more receptive to intuition, creative inspiration and intelligent choices. Inner calm allows you to operate from a position of non-ego.

4. Stillness begets stillness and peace begets peace. Call it non-violent protest if you want! Meditation reminds us that the workplace doesn't have to be a drama stage or a battlefield.

5. Meditation reclaims the space, so that you have positive associations with work. Let's face it, if you were going to spend upwards of eight hours a day at work, a little tranquility wouldn't go amiss!

How do you keep it together when your writing is coming apart at the seams?


7 comments:

Gillian McDade said...

Arrrrhhhh - I wish I had time to declutter my mind during the day, but usually it's like a brain on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, being pulled this way and that..... *the joys of work*

Derek said...

A minute a day is a start. As a friend once said: A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.

Rebecca Alexander said...

I immerse myself in music for half an hour. If that doesn't work, mindless repetitive chores usually does it!

Chloe said...

Stillness is very underrated! It's great to be able to take time out to realise that the world (not even our own little world around us) doesn't stop spinning if we pause for a moment. I always start the working day with a chat with God. Sometimes I'm in a hurry to get on - but that's probably when I need to do it the most!

I'm also one of those people who can't listen to music while I work. Has to be silence!

JO said...

I walk. I'm lucky - I live in deepest Wiltshire and can be on the Downs in ten minutes, or under the trees of Savernake Forest.

But I wish I could master the art of meditation. I don't question the benefits, and have tried sitting, breathing etc - but somehow can't get my mind to just shut up! (But I do have one of those little Buddhas by my back door, so I suppose that's a start.)

Derek said...

Thanks all for your thoughts.
Rebecca - I found that chopping firewood also puts me in that place where I stop thinking - but I have to pay attention!
Chloe - I think it always helps to see where we are in the grand scheme of things. As someone I knew used to say, 'This too shall pass.'
Jo - Trees always do it for me too. The point about meditation is that it's a process and at times you have to go through that mind-chatter stage. Maybe you could just stare at the Buddha statue for a bit!

Kath said...

Hi Derek,
I am so with you on the meditation thing. A few minutes a day spent de-cluttering and just stopping the endless chatter is time so well spent. It might not always 'work' but the results come anyway if you persist. I find it keeps me sane in an insane world, and keeps me keeping on with this insane business that is writing. And it's free!