A zen tip to better writing

meditation imageListen to the sounds outside of your head.

I was overly stressed this summer, but the book gods took care of me and sent me a boon. There, on the giveaway book table at work, was “Everyday Zen.”

I’m open for anything, so I scooped it up and stole away for a few minutes at lunchtime to see what I could learn. It didn’t take me long to figure out zen required too much time and effort to change my life. But it did suggest one particular exercise that I found very beneficial, not only for my nerves, but for my writing.

Stress, anger, and even pleasure are all just manifestations of your brain. They are not real. They don’t exist. If you clear your head and let the thoughts dissipate, you can become…enlightened, free, a lamp unto yourself (that’s where they lost me.)

BUT to do that, they suggest turning off the noise in your head and become one with the universe. You do that by listening outside of yourself. Sit still and listen…to traffic, the birds, the rest of life that is happening around you.

It’s a fascinating exercise. I had no idea the cicadas were so loud this summer. They buzz like an alien lifeforce day and night.

No matter where I sat, air conditioning units hummed in and around every building. Clocks tick, the cat snores and on a good day, I could hear the marching band practicing two miles away.

I never gave much thought to sounds before, but all of this can be remarkable fodder for books. Sitting in a grocery store, I now know the cash registers ping with every sale. The loudspeaker crackes like a potato chip bag and the lottery machine plays a tune. How much richer and more vivid my scenes will be with that sort of detail?

I’d like offer a hearty shout out to the Buddha dude, for providing some great inspiration.  😉

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