I’ve been writing well these days, which means I’ve been feeling well, too. This is different than feeling good, although as it happens, I've been feeling good, too: happy, excited, eager to get back to the page. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
My point here is that I’ve been feeling well, which is to say that my ability to feel is heightened. This is what happens when I’m writing well: I feel better.
Writing is one of the means I have available to feel. Meditation is another. Put another way, writing and meditation are practices that allow me to feel my feelings. Otherwise, how would I know?
“We are what we tell ourselves we are,” says my friend and teacher, Norman Fischer. “Language-making isn’t incidental or ornamental to human consciousness: it is its center, its esssence. No language, no person. No relationships, no tools...Meditation practice brings the mind to a profound quiet that comes very close to the bottom of consciousness, and right there is the wellspring where language bubbles up.”
I’m hopelessly drawn to this wellspring. I sit on my cushion or at my computer, alert, eyes half shut, listening into that profound quiet. I seem to be waiting.
How am I waiting? Hopelessly (because hope can be constricting), and yet curiously, too. Trying to cultivate some patience and trust. Drawn by a longing to be fully who I am, whatever that may be.
What am I waiting for? Words. Or the world. No, that’s not quite right, because this is an intransitive kind of waiting, with no object.
I could just as well be in the garden, pulling up weeds or planting tomatoes or watching the ducks eat slugs. But instead I’m sitting here, waiting for nothing at all.