Musings On Writing and Meditation

Dear Friends and Readers,

Did writing our soon-to-be-published book, Pilgrim Maya, deepen my meditation? Or was it the other way round? An impossible question, but for sure our life practices blossomed: Shintaido, meditation, and Stephen’s love of and study of Buddhism all took root in our book.

Several scenes in the book feature small, personal meditation altars. The main character sets one up in the final section. As we wrote the novel, I fixed up a corner in my small office as my own altar:

Meditation Corner

Four life experiences were urging me to transfer my moving meditation practice from Shintaido into my office space. I made a chart on a 3×5 card and posted it next to my computer. The word “Meditation” is in the middle with arrows pointing to it from four directions:

  1. Writing Pilgrim Maya
  2. Taking a Yale course on Happiness
  3. Using the Noom app. I lost a few pounds and learned more about mindfulness.
  4. Having my new doctor prescribe meditation instead of medication!
Card Pointing to Meditation

Stephen reminds me frequently that meditation is a huge part of my more than forty years of Shintaido practice. Aside from actual Shintaido meditation practices such as Ten-Position Meditation and Taimyo kata, Shintaido contains inherently the experience of emptiness and calm that comes from the rigors of the physical practice, from going beyond our physical limits. For me, meditation is not new, but zazen (Zen sitting) is opening up new meditative pathways for me.

Bela wrote this blog. Stephen added this quote from Dogen’s Shobogenzo:

“Meditation is not a way to enlightenment. Nor is it a method of achieving anything at all. It is peace itself. It is the actualization of wisdom, the ultimate truth of the oneness of all things.

There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.

Nothing in the entire universe is hidden.”

We’d love to hear about your meditation practices or experiences.