Mindfulness and Writing

So, mindfulness and being present are a hot topic these days, what with Oprah crashing web servers as she presents teleseminars with the flat-liner Eckhardt Tolle.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with him he has written The Power of Now, and A New Earth, both of which were doing quite well in sales.  Then Oprah came along and catapulted him out into the stratosphere.

To be honest, I’ve never been able to get through either book.  They are a bit on the dull dry side.  I am fully willing to admit that I am probably missing something, but it seems to me as if he has a simple message that really could be told in about a page.

The message?  Be here now. 

Sound familiar?  It should.  It has been the mantra of many a self-help guru and Zen master for years.  And I get it, I really do.  The world takes on a somewhat magical and wondrous sheen when one is able to be fully present in the moment, even if you are washing the dishes or scrubbing the toilet. 

I’m a big fan of the whole be here now thing, except for one small quibble.  (My Zen friend Derek is now going to disown me and refuse to ever email me again. and that will be an awful tragedy but I will press on in the interest of all writers everywhere.)

You see, I get my best ideas for writing when I am being unmindful.  When I go out for a walk at the end of the day, I know I should be looking at all the cherry trees in bloom and the daffodils that are so perky and yellow in all the gardens.  But looking at them reminds me of the color of the dress my heroine wore in a scene earlier and then I get the perfect idea for how to end the chapter.  Or while I’m fixing salmon for dinner suddenly the perfect line of dialogue pops into my head. Or while I’m doing the crossword puzzle, I am suddenly aware of how many parallels there are between puzzling and writing.

So that is my problem.  Being mindful is not always so good for creativity and that leads me to like being mindful far less than I should. 

If anybody has a solution for this, I’d love to hear it.

Meanwhile, its time for me to go eat that salmon.

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