When A Writer Needs a Peaceful Mind

I’ve been involved in some contentious issues lately, including gun violence prevention. It is a scary, sad, frustrating issue.

In order to stay strong, sometimes I need to find peaceful moments. I use the Stop, Breathe and Think app to meditate as often as I can, even if it’s only five minutes in a day.

But a book came across my path the other day that offered a lovely look into Buddhism and insight into the process of creativity and story telling. I wanted to share it with you in case you needed help finding a peaceful mind, too.

The Cat Who Went to Heaven is a Newbery Award winner that describes how the cat, who did not honor Buddha at his death, atoned and was welcomed with Buddha’s forgiveness.

We could all use such forgiveness. We can all do better at forgiving ourselves. We can all work harder to forgive others.

Along with The Cat, our family also loves Zen Shorts, a lovely collection of Buddhist principles conveyed via vignettes and a fat panda bear. You can’t go wrong with a panda.

Many times, I write to find my way out of confusion and frustration over an issue, idea, or concept that bothers me. Other times, if my mind is too tumultuous I have real trouble focusing and getting the words out. Sometimes I need to reflect and calm down before I can really express my true thoughts and feelings.

In The Cat Who Went to Heaven, the artist meditates for three days on the life of Buddha before he begins to paint. He lives the life of each of the animals who came to honor Buddha. The story is a guide for writers of fiction and non-fiction. Get inside the mind of your characters. See what they see, feel what they feel. Tell their story.

I’m no expert on meditation and I don’t want to use it to tone down my feelings. I try to use it to hone my feelings and discover the real root of what upsets me. Meditation can allow to me focus on the source of the hurt that I feel, but also learn about the hurt that others feel. And I think it can help me tell a truer story.

Do you find it hard to write when you’re upset? Do you need a peaceful mind? Where do you find your moments of peace?

moments of peace