Why I Write: A Short Essay of Personal Reflection
I sat in front of the altar, legs crossed in lotus position. My mother and I had just finished Amitabha practice, a Buddhist prayer to invoke infinite light and blessings of a precious rebirth. I was young but already struggling with practicing clarity of mind. Practicing compassion and empathy came easier to me than meditation, which was trickier because my thoughts seemed to pour like heavy rain. After practice I asked my mother, a Buddhist nun, how to achieve a state of mind that is more at ease, and she offered her advice to me, “Think of thoughts as bubbles; watch them arise and pop or simply float away. Then it won’t be possible to cling to or conceptualize over them.”
The way creative writing was introduced to me was in the same meditational manner. A writing teacher introduced stream of consciousness writing to me. It was a daily exercise she had her students do to open the floodgates to our minds without having time to examine what we were thinking. This appealed to the spiritual side of me that yearned for clarity, honest reflections, and self-understanding. As I transported my thoughts onto paper, I noticed my mind more at ease both during and after writing. Over time writing helped reveal hidden parts of my consciousness that I wasn’t aware of. I discovered my voice on paper had a thunderous, bold roar, one that I had trouble expressing in verbal communication. I saw a pattern throughout my writing of taking my experiences of living in a western society and intertwine them with eastern thought and my experiences of being raised Tibetan Buddhist.
I believe my “writing heart” belongs to poetry. I love the power a poem can embody within a short piece of writing. Even the smallest of poems has the potential to create strong reactions. When I write fiction and nonfiction, I still seek to use poetic language. I let a poem or story resonate in me before writing anything down, not necessarily thinking about what I will write but just allowing myself to be open to the feeling the poem or story is bringing forth. During this time is usually when metaphors begin taking shape. Sometimes words flood my mind, no matter if I’m driving or nearly falling asleep, and I will grab a pen and paper and begin writing.
I write because, like meditation, the more I practice, the more I’m able to access this voice within me. I write because it helps center me and teaches me to pay attention in the moment, so I can use my observations in my writing. I write because I want to address difficult emotions and situations and connect to others through human conditions. I write to quiet my mind, open my heart, address hardships, and contemplate morals. I write to gain wisdom, insight, and help me see things from new perspectives. Through my writing I want to empower my readers, invoke compassion, and let others know they are not alone. Copyright 2011.