My Favorite Meditation reads…
“A fast mind is a sick mind. A slow mind is a sound mind. But a still mind is a divine mind.”
I came across this meditation in graduate school of all places, when I was intent on being a “nerd” and thought I had little time for meditation, let alone for sitting still. However, writing poetry forces you to be still. Writing poetry is an internal directive, which means that in order for poetry to fully express itself, you have to release any attachment to the external or outside world.
When I shut out the distractions of the world – “the stresses, cell phone calls, or weekday meetings…the antagonizing clients or bland corporate greetings” – I am fully able to hear the authentic “voice” within me that symbolizes my innermost thoughts and desires. That voice represents my truest self. My truest self is the one and only self that communicates my poetry. When people have asked me how I recognize that voice, I use the example of answering a telephone: When you pick up your phone, and before the person announces who they are, there are times when you know who that person is because they are a relative or close friend of yours. In other words, you recognize their voice because you are intimately familiar with them, and the intonation and inflection which contribute to the unique sound of their voice.
Poetry works much the same way: Despite, the “gillion” voices that may try to talk to me at one time (I assure you…I am not crazy), I can always “tune” into the right frequency…I can always discern my authentic self.
The Creative Process…Poeticizing
Poetry writes itself. All you have to do is get out of the way. The nature of the poem depends on the energy sponsoring the poem. Sometimes, the energy may be complex and protracted. Other times the energy may be especially rhythmic. Beyond that, there are times when the energy may be aggressive or perhaps more mellow. In turn, the resulting poem may be long or rhythmic or aggressive. Whatever the energy is, the key is to honor the energy during the creative process.
The creative process for me is never forced. The law of communication is simple: There is a time to speak (or write, in this instance), and a time to listen. When there is no more instruction to receive, when there is no more listening to be done, I write. I write daily. I have written on the side of the interstate, in the middle of a cocktail lounge, on the back of cocktails napkins, and even at work. To my family’s dismay, I have even written at the dinner table or at 3:00 in the morning. Writing is like running water out of a faucet: sometimes, you can barely get a drop to fall. Other times, the poetry pours out of me so vigorously, I can hardly shut the valve off.
It speaks to all that I am…and all that I ever was.