Completing the mundane tasks of the day – cleaning, shopping, food preparation, making those phone calls (whatever responsibilities you have) – requires an active mind, one that can move rapidly from one task to the next, thinking ahead to other jobs. Sitting to write with the mind jangling with to-do lists is impossible, so I do a short meditation to create a calm, spacious mind that allows me to write successfully.
First I sit cross-legged in front of my golden Buddha statue, light a candle and some incense (a third of a stick – this won’t take long).
Then I close my eyes and breathe (not too deeply – it makes me sneeze).
I imagine a steady stream of golden liquid flowing into the crown of my head. Beginning with my toes I allow the melted gold to fill up my body – the soft pads of the feet, the scoop of the heel, the fleshy calf, the sharp bone of the shin. It warms my knees, rushes into the thighs, fills the bowl of the pelvis, the soft belly. Gradually rising, the amber flow swirls round the hollow of my shoulders and washes down through my arms, soothing the overworked tendons. Finally, there’s a slight sensation of constriction as my throat is coated in layers of gradually hardening gold, a feeling of relief as the backs of the eyes are warmed, and my mind calms, for I am utterly still like the statue before me.
I sit like this for maybe five minutes, feeling happily serene, breathing softly, thoughts absent. When I open my eyes, any sensation of rigidity instantly dissolves. I am rested, warmed, energized, and my mind has opened out into this spacious place where ideas can take form, unhindered by concerns for day-to-day activity.
Does anyone else have any special meditations, or personal rituals for preparing to write?