I’m reading a book about Buddhist meditation at the moment. I’m not far into the book but so far, what’s resonated with me is that we meditate not to change who we are but to become friends with who we are – Being human is to be chaotic and feelings of discomfort will come but they don’t need to dictate our actions. This is a huge teaching for me.
Last night I read a zen reflection called The Four Horses.
‘The buddha told his followers there are four kinds of horses. The first sees merely the form of the whip and runs. The second reacts when the whip taps its hair. The third is aroused when the whip contracts its flesh. The fourth is animated when the whip touches it’s bone.’
The point explained was the first horse is so well bred he sees the whip and knows exactly what to do, whereas the fourth horse has to feel beaten, to be so close to death before he grasps reality. As humans we want to be the first horse but, well let’s face it, we’re more the forth. However, as much as I know it can be hard as hell, it’s through suffering that we learn. We make life-changing choices mainly when we feel beaten to the bone.
Meditation allows us to see all aspects of ourselves. Often the harder we fall and more painful the whack… well voila, the more we learn. The more we learn the more we can begin to understand how complex and chaotic we are and instead of running, we can make friends with ALL aspects of ourselves. This takes time of course, I am a mere beginner. However I can absolutely relate these teachings to writing my book.
When I started out i wanted to be like the first horse. I wanted to be the writer getting it right straight away, to write an exact amount of words everyday and create a masterpiece that will be fit for publication in only a few months. Yeah right! Truth is, all that planning went to shit. I am the fourth horse. I am the writer who has to feel confusion and disillusionment. I am the writer who has no clue which direction I’m going in, the story just seems to be writing itself at the moment which inevitable means, I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m just writing.
However, I am learning so much! This alone is keeping my spirits high. Some days I’ll write 1,000 words, some days not but the point is, the process is a continuous lesson. High expectations before the process begins is a waste of time, well for me anyway. I have so much to learn and I feel incredibly humble on this journey.
I have now hit 10,000 words and the last few thousand have been a labour of love rather than ‘how many words have I written today??’ I write because I love it and the thought of committing to writing a novel has scared the hell out of me for the past four years (which is why I am only committing now). I needed targets in the beginning, not that I’m saying I still don’t, oh boy I still do, but now I don’t feel the need to be so perfect and that has taken a whole heap of pressure off and I can enjoy, rather than beat myself up about word counts. Pressure is so debilitating and when we load so heavily upon ourselves, the result is never healthy, but then maybe I needed to bash the hell outta myself to get to this point. Like the reflection expresses, pain moves us.
I’m am grateful for being in the place I’m at right now, achieving no more or no less. I am looking to turn the tables from pressure to personal understanding, this seems to motivate me so much more and if times of turmoil lay ahead, I’ll keep the faith that empowering movements arise from suppression, even if my suppression is inflicted by me.