What You See When Your Eyes Are Closed: Meditation and Writing

#DailyWings:“‘Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” -Stephen King

The funny thing about the end of summer school is that, after an intense three weeks of studying and fast learning and exam-taking, everything slows down and suddenly you have a wide space of time lying before you. 

Yesterday, I went to the interfaith chapel that is connected to the local hospital and spent five hours in one of the meditation rooms. I almost never see anyone in the chapel, even though it’s a beautiful and peaceful place to spend time alone, reflecting. The meditation rooms are low-lit and set at cool temperatures. 

Doesn’t this look lovely? 

Now, I don’t really affiliate myself with any religion. To me, religion is deeply personal and individualized because it makes up your entire belief system and spiritual views. No two people’s religions are alike, no matter what name you give it. And so even though I don’t go to church or attend religious activities regularly, I still try to find the time to meditate. 

I hadn’t meditated in quite a few months –bad, bad Wendy– so getting back into the routine was kind of hard, especially when I set the bar high and sat for 20 minutes straight through (my phone beeped when 20 minutes was up). But in the past I have found that meditation helps clear your mind, leads to greater contentment and calms the spirit. Even now, I don’t really know what constitutes as meditating; maybe the “sit and just be quiet” ritual catchphrase suffices. Here is how the 20 minutes of my meditation session went: 

0 Minutes: Okay! I can do this! 
3 Minutes: *fidgets* Has it been five minutes yet? No, I can’t look at my watch! I’m not supposed to open my eyes! 
5 Minutes: Whatever…my phone will beep when it beeps. I need to stop focusing on the time and concentrate on blanking my mind instead. Every time my mind starts to fill with thoughts or images, I’m going to ‘clear’ everything out. 
8 Minutes: ……………..(nothing)….Hey cool! I’m doing it! I’m meditating! Wait, dang it. I’m thinking again. Bye, bye, oh sweet moment of zen. 
9 Minutes: Clearly blanking my mind is too hard right now. Let me try to focus on my surroundings instead. 
11 Minutes: I hear the air conditioner blasting from the ceiling, I taste tomato from the spaghetti I had for lunch, I hear nothing. I see nothing. 
12 Minutes: Uh-oh. My knee itches. 
12.5 Minutes: I’m not supposed to move! Oh, but my knee itches so badly! It’s that darn mosquito bite. The AC must have blown air on it. And it’s no wonder I’m cold…
13 Minutes: Has it been 20 minutes yet? No, I guess not. Now, I’m going to concentrate on not itching my knee. Think about something else! Quick! 
15 Minutes: Even though my eyes are closed, I still see colors and images with my eyelids pulled over like this. *moves eyeballs around* There goes a blue streak of – of light! Ooh, a shiny shooting star. And green squiggles. Never knew you could see so much with your eyes closed. Beautiful. 
17 Minutes: Hey, the itch went away. 
19 Minutes: All right, phone, you’re concerning me. I’m pretty sure that I set an ala–
20 Minutes: BEEP. BEEP. End of meditation session. 

Well I wouldn’t exactly call my session productive, but what I did afterwards certainly was! To be honest the meditation made me kind of sleepy and my shoulders were kind of sore from staying straight for so long, but I felt good. I felt more present in the room now that my eyes were open. 

And the next thing I did was a literary miracle. I sat down, opened my laptop and started writing for The T-Project. Writing, y’all! Word after word after word. Before I knew it, nearly an hour had passed and there on the Microsoft Word document were 700 words more than I had before! What’s more, the meat of the back story had been fleshed out and there was even some good dialogue that had made its way onto the page. 

I threw my head back and drew out a long sigh of satisfaction and, yes, contentment. I felt content and happy and strangely present in my environment. I also felt tired, though, so I packed up and went home with a smile on my face. 

Maybe the meditation wasn’t productive, but the post-meditation writing session certainly was! I always knew there was something about meditating that changes attitude, work ethic, and thinking patterns. Hmm, perhaps I should start meditating every day right before I write…

* * *

To make yesterday even better, Precy Larkins surprised me with the Stylish Blogger Award – and she called me a diva! *giggles* Thanks, Precy! This award comes with a few questions for me to answer – and for you to get to know a little bit more about me!

What is your favorite song?

I actually happen to have an answer to this one! Right now, my favorite song is Dying Daze by Mipso Trio. It’s got beautiful lyrics and unique melody. Another good tune by the band is their cover of Careless Whisper. Good stuff! 

What is your favorite dessert?

Oh dear, this is such an unfair question given that I just started a no-sweets resolution for myself. I guess I’ll have to say apple pie or Coconut Dreams. Mmmmm. 

When you’re upset, what do you do?

I usually try to find a quiet place to be alone, like the arboretum on campus or my room. Then I write in my journal to get all the feelings out, or if I’m really upset I go to sleep. 

What was your favorite pet?

Hehe. I have had two adorable red-eared slider turtles, named David and Little Cloud, for almost three years now (I got them in August 2009). I got them at a festival in Boston, and they were tiny babies back then. Now they’ve gotten incredibly huge – so huge that I had to get a new tank for them! They keep me company and are super fun to play with. You can learn more about David and Little Cloud here. This is an older photo of them (they’re much larger now): 

Aren’t they such cuties?! 

What do you prefer to wear, black or white?

Hmm, that’s an interesting question! I like both, but since I have black hair perhaps black is the way to go. Plus , black attracts the sunlight so wearing dark colors makes me get all itchy and uncomfortably warm. 

What is your biggest fear?

That I will grow old and then right before my time is up I realize I haven’t accomplished anything with my life. 

What is your attitude mostly?

I try to be a positive and optimistic person – always looking on the bright side. That may make me seem like a really naive person, but I suppose it’s more of a combination between optimism and common sense. 

What is perfection to you?

A fantasy! 

What is your guilty pleasure?

Buying comic books :D Yes, I am one of those silly superhero nerds who collects comics and holes herself up in some secluded area to read about Superman. #noshame

Time to pass on the blog award! Here are the five recipients, in no particular order:

1. Albert’s Sefuty Chronicles – for being an incredibly supportive blogger friend, especially throughout ROW80 Days
2. Lydia Kang (The Word is My Oyster) – for recently changing her blog layout and background (gorgeous!), and for showing that it IS okay to to pursue two of the most unlikely fields, medicine and writing (check out her Medical Mondays! Hilarious!)
3. Alyssa (Life is Good) – for having a blog that has delicious-looking noms and touches on a diverse array of topics! 
4. Rachna’s Scriptorium – for always discussing thoughtful aspects of writing and the literary world (ex: Why Do We Like Imperfect Characters?)
5. Wendy Luane Barber – for having the same-ish name as me (haha, just kidding!) and for being super creative and talented with her art projects; check out the quilts and dolls she makes! 

Don’t forget to sign up for the Roarin’ Twenties Poetry Blogfest + Chapter Critique Giveaway! Only two more days!! Linky below:


6 responses to “What You See When Your Eyes Are Closed: Meditation and Writing”

  1. Jemi Fraser says:

    I’ve never tried meditating – pretty sure I’d be antsy throughout the whole thing – which means I really, really should try it! :)

    It feels so good to get those words down on paper – way to go!

  2. Sophia Chang says:

    You spent FIVE HOURS in the meditation room? I can barely spend 5 hours on the plane back home to NY.

    Thank you for coming by and leaving such thoughtful comments! So nice to meet you too and great heads up about your blogfest. I’m not the biggest poetry person but I’m more than happy to follow your blog and promote your fest.

  3. Hi Wendy, we have another thing in common beside writing and that is meditation. Meditation does calm one’s mind and clears the confusion constantly hovering in our minds.

    Thanks for passing me the Stylish Blogger Award. I am honoured that you thought of me and my blog. Its amazing blog buddies like you, who make me eager to blog and connect with you all.

  4. Alyssa says:

    Wow. Five hours of meditation?! I definitely couldn’t do that LOL! Thanks soooo much for giving me The Stylish Blogger award!! :D

  5. What a wonderful blog post. I love to meditate. When I find the time. Which is hardly ever. Which is counterproductive, of course. Meditating and yoga sooth the soul and yes, as you experienced, opens up the creative juices beautifully.
    Congrats on the award!

  6. icyHighs says:

    Meditation’s always a relief but 5 hours…??! Do you have to like check your pulse every now and then to make sure youre still there?

    David and Little Cloud are champs by the way, brilliant.

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