In his lectures about Mindfulness and Meditation, Robin Wright says that when our minds begin to wander, they typically process on either the past or the future–normally, the future. [In the following nest of videos, the Mindfulness & Meditation Video is labeled 2-3. To access that one video, you need to search for this video on YouTube, or you can register for this course from Princeton Here
He adds that when the mind wanders, our brain’s Default Mode kicks in. The first step toward Mindfulness is to quieten the activity of the Default Mode.
In a conversation with Paul Bloom, a professor from Yale, Wright begins to explore the fact that we tend to view things either positively or negatively. Through mindfulness, we begin to neutralize some of our reactions by forcing ourselves into awareness of things that we might not otherwise notice.
He adds that when we force ourselves to be aware of things that are negative to us, we begin to strip them of their power.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner
As I said in a previous post, many of us work very hard, trying to forget parts of our pasts Here, but as Faulkner pointed out, we are never able to actually accomplish that. When we try to repress our pasts, we simply become numb. We enter states of denial, and we essentially begin to glaze over. Writers cannot write authentically when they are numb, and the sooner that they force themselves to be aware of all the parts of themselves, the sooner that they can rise above them numbness and lack of authenticity.
I don’t even pretend to understand Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist, but I do believe that Mindfulness can have a positive effect on anyone’s life. Both writing and painting are ways that we become more mindful.
Even Flies Look – Artists and Writers Must See
I have taught art most of my life, and especially when I teach art to older people, who had allowed themselves to quit noticing, I hear my students exclaim about the things that they have begun to “see” again. Read this post that distinguishes between looking and seeing Here.
The same thing is happening with my adult memoir students. As soon as they allow themselves to focus on one part of their pasts, the floodgate is opened, and they are reminded of things that they had not even realized that they had lost. The essential thing to understand is that a writer’s voice is connected to parts of himself that he may no longer recall.
In the Free 36-Day Workshop Mine Your Memories, I’ll share ways that they can begin reclaiming their pasts, the place where they will find their authentic voices. Here
©Jacki Kellum July 24, 2016