"So to be a human being is to be a Buddha. Buddha nature is just another name for human nature, our true human nature. Thus even though you do not do anything, you are actually doing something. You are expressing yourself. You are expressing your true nature."
—Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
What would it be like—what arises in your thoughts—if I said that what you are as a writer is already wonderful, already Buddha? If your writing was “perfect as it is,” right now?
What would it be like to write if there was no need to change anything about you as a writer?
In part, this is a question about our discursive thinking—or how we self-talk about our writing ability and our current writing projects.
Many people maintain potent preconceptions about their writing ability, and the idea that they are already perfect writers can be startling to them.
Basically, the notion that they are perfect writers heightens their self-talk. The notion makes their normal discursive thinking about their writing more obvious: all-caps and on a billboard rather than naturalized as a background murmur.
Few of us know what is like to cease trying to change ourselves as writers.
We carry around a burden of a wish that we were different. It can be refreshing to suddenly be in accord with the Present as opposed to, well, always being in opposition to it.
Dropping that constant push to be other-than-yourself-as-a-writer provides a whole different type of energy about the act of writing. It's a knapsack made of stone that you may have carried around for years without even noticing it.
This is also an exercise in developing maitri or an acceptance of ourselves and what arises in our inner states.
Again: What would it be like—what would arise in your thoughts right now—if what you are as a writer is already wonderful, already Buddha? If your writing was “perfect as it is” right now?
Jot down observations:
What images pass over your mind when I say this?
Breathe into these images. Follow them. What do you notice?
What emotions are you feeling when I say this?
What color is one of those emotions?
Breathe into this emotion. Follow it. What do you notice?