I’ve always suspected writing had a deeply spiritual purpose, even before I found Natalie Goldberg and others like her who were making the connection back in the 80s. (Rumi and the poets of ancient times were onto it way before that!) But to have a place where you can bare the inner thoughts of your soul, then work at transforming it into art/beauty, seemed to me to tick those boxes. For writing, while at first a lonely act, ultimately connects you with others, allows you to feel part of a greater humanity, a greater oneness of being.
Paula Schneider writes in the Huffington Post:
“… intimacy with mystery requires that we ourselves be present. We must be most ourselves, not hidden behind religious ritual or rules of grammar. We need our own voices to cry out our deepest cries, to express our wildest joy, to plumb our hardest questions. And we need to begin with our ordinary, complicated, but beautifully nuanced and perfectly adequate, ordinary everyday lives.”
In her book, How the Light Gets In, Writing as Spiritual Practice, she says
“All of us live in relation to mystery, and becoming conscious of that relationship can be a beginning point for a spiritual practice—whether we experience mystery in nature, in ecstatic love, in the eyes of our children, our friends, the animals we love, or in more strange experiences of intuition, synchronicity, or prescience.”
Of course we don’t have to label this experience as ‘spiritual’. For many of us, this word may have negative connotations. But writers are rather monastic, hiding away for months or years on end in retreat, giving up socialising and other indulgences for their art; coming out for for a short time to launch and discuss their work then disappearing into their hermitage again.
When we travel to Bhutan this August we will be bringing our spiritual and creative practice together. In a country where so many great buddhist masters have taught and practiced for hundreds of years, even the hardened sceptic cannot help but be affected by the other worldly atmosphere of this ancient land. When the cook in the kitchen recites mantras as he prepares your lunch and the doorman blesses you each time you come home, you know something else is afoot here.
Still room to join!