“Don’t mistake my finger for the moon.” The Buddha
Buddhism offers a myriad of formulas, teachings, practices, sutras, and meditations. Three major Buddhist texts (like bibles), with their own countless sutras and teachings. Most are multi-layered and complex. Many emphasize awakening to your True Nature; all rely on practicing kindness toward oneself and others. My personal practice, found in the Mahayana tradition, is the Lo jong teachings, which is translated into 59! pithy slogans. And this is just in Buddhism, then there’s all the other religions, spiritual practices, yogic traditions, psychological and transformational programs, healing therapies and self-help formulas. There are even books and classes on how to be an atheist.
Each approach worked for at least one person.
“Don’t mistake my finger for the moon;” don’t mistake the teachings or formulas for direct experience.
Don’t practice meditation to wake up; wake up to the practice of meditation.
Don’t write to prove something; write to explore, discover and express yourself. Write to share yourself. Don’t force a scene or try to make something happen. Let the mystery unfold as you write. (You have nothing to prove and everything to share).
Don’t try to write like someone else or follow someone else’s “sure” technique of success.
My main message to writers is this: let the writing prompts or teachings take you where they will. Open to your own personal experience and knowledge. Your own ideas. Your moon. Trust your personal experience above all else.
With teachers (from the Buddha to William Strunk jr.,) notice what they have to say and what resonates with you, let the rest go. Don’t mistake their finger for The Way. Be brave. Fumble and discover as you go. There really is no there to get to anyway. Yes, you will complete a poem or book, but that is in no way the Nirvana or finish line of one’s writing life. And the poem or book is just a pointing finger for someone else to go find their own moon; their own experience.
I walked at sunset last night. The sky a brilliant orange messenger, a reminder that the moon the Buddha pointed to is right here in this sky.
That moon is in my heart.
And in yours.
Write about that.
As a writer you are a Buddha pointing. Your words are pointing to something for you and your readers. What are you pointing at? Write about that.
FREE Writing RETREAT: FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 10th
I am offering a Free Virtual Retreat. We start with an hour LIVE talk on The Truth About Lies: Writing Fiction that sends a Message. 9:00 am . I will give several writing prompts for the day. This will be just for my writing tribe, you, and we will follow with a half day (optional) retreat! Then we will meet up for another hour at the end of day to share in a closing circle. You in? Simply RSVP to me. I will be at Stewart Lake pavilion from Noon to 3:00, come visit and write! Meet up in a closing circle at 4:00 via ZOOM.
A monthly EMBODIED Writing & Living Series
1st Wednesday of each month, 6:30 to 8:15 CST. Live. An evening of writing prompts with a transformational theme, meditation and breathwork, with simple body awareness practices. Starts Wednesday NOVEMBER 3rd (Please contact me to get on list). Donations welcome but not necessary. (6 month series).
FREE webinars through Oregon Public Library: Writing Your Story series. A popular webinar/U-tube on Embodied Writing: Click HERE.
My Write-by-the-LIGHT class & workshop in October is full, so sign up for this month-long class in MARCH