The idea of writing as a spiritual or contemplative practice is addressed in a three-part series from Upaya Zen Center. Here are the links:
- Henry Shukman: 02-08-2012: Awakening Through Writing
- Natalie Goldberg: 02-15-2012: Ginsberg
- Jimmy Santiago Baca: 02-22-2012: Awakening Through Writing: Poetry with Dance
If you like the idea that writing can be a contemplative practice, here's another resource. I just finished listening to The Writing Life, an audiobook with Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron. For me, driving in the car creates a good time for listening to this kind of book; I enjoyed and recommend The Writing Life. Easy, entertaining listening, yet some gems to make you think about your
In the audiobook, Natalie mentions the time when she worked in a restaurant on Canyon Road. I worked there at the same time. Pauline Nestor, now a writer and going by Theo, was working there, too. That restaurant, The New Haven, employed a talented gang. [Clip of the restaurant now with friend Jan Prince in front.]
When I first moved to Santa Fe, I lived at Upaya. Back then that lovely place on Cerro Gordo Road was owned by Richard Baker-roshi and was called Dharma Sangha. Natalie sat (meditated) with us. Living there at Dharma Sangha was the beat poet Philip Whalen, a kind and gentle man who taught me the zendo's ritual and rules. The New Haven was owned by Sarah Grayson one of Baker-roshi's students and managed by Steve Allen one of his monks.
The restaurant was often chaotic. My days waiting tables on Canyon Road at a business being managed by a Zen monk, and the years following in Santa Fe, could be the topic of a long short story or a book. A book that would be more exciting, dream-like, and unexpected than fiction.
In writing this blog post, I realized that, compared to some sessions of meditating, writing my New Haven story would be much more fun! Contemplative AND fun—a winning combo. Writing can be that and more. Do you write? I plan to make writing my practice for this year's Lent.