A Matter of Practice

Since I began practicing present moment awareness, I have known dark moments, even despair at times. It’s not as if the mere practice of present moment awareness means all is light for not all is nor ever was.

KMHuber; Dark Moments; Waverly Pond; Tallahassee

Present moment awareness allows me to attend the dark and light in me, to place every moment under scrutiny without fear of shattering illusions or poking at beliefs still circumspect. Light only illuminates the truth, even in the dark. There is no need to cling to any moment for any longer than it lasts.

Practicing present moment awareness turns the uncertainty of the unknown into the possibility of opportunity. It is “being here now” as Ram Dass has told us.

In one way or another, I write about present moment awareness in every blog post, perhaps even write around it at times. Yet, within the last couple weeks my present moment awareness practice has changed. Less and less, do I discover myself in past meanders or future scenarios. Dark or light, I am more now than not.

Musing CatPerhaps it is because I am finally writing the old woman novel, not plotting, considering structure, or writing reams of back story. No, I am telling a story, which requires specificity, focus, “being here now.”

Certainly, some sentences and scenes are more ragged than others in this initial draft, but the present moment awareness of the novel’s world is seeping into my real life practice. That has my attention as well.

When I enter the world of the old woman, I meet her fears–fear moves a story along quite nicely–while her story is not my story, fear is an emotion magnet. When a character reveals fear to me, I am attracted into her moment by my own reservoir of fear.

Some days, the connection with the old woman takes my breath away, and I am blown back in time to one uncomfortable moment after another until I turn my attention to the old woman’s story, the vehicle into and out of my past. Only through the telling of her story am I able to close the doors she opens so easily.

At one time I believed my characters spoke to me but since I began my meditation practice, that belief no longer serves. To be clear, I do not hear voices when I write or when I meditate. It is much quieter than that. Frankly, stillness suits either practice as awareness or mindfulness has a practical application, at least for me.

In my daily meditation practice, there is stillness, a “gap between thoughts” as Deepak Chopra calls it, different than when I write but similar, too. My meditation precedes my writing practice; my mind is quiet as it enters the world of the old woman.

Physically, I am refreshed, deliberate in each hand movement, a uni-tasker, as I do not type. I use voice recognition software to write the story–the only voice I hear is my own–relaying observations and marking moments in an old woman’s life as I come to know her story.

Every day, the hours I spend in my meditation/writing practice increase. It is changing how I am in “the real world,” although I cannot characterize just what the effect is, not yet.

KMHuberImage; Meditation Cat;

The only change is that my cat, EmmaRose, now meditates with me more often than not. At five and half pounds, she is more like a neck scarf than a cat around my neck or on my chest. Our meditation posture is a leaning back position rather than the more traditional cross-legged sit–for now. With constant practice comes constant change.

25 thoughts on “A Matter of Practice

  1. “There is no need to cling to any moment for any longer than it lasts.” Beautiful truth. I cling to the good moments because I choose to treasure them. For the rest, I cling to the lessons I learn, but not the moments, themselves. Thank you for sharing your journey.


  2. We have to live for the present; if we live for any other time, striving for an unattainable future or wallowing in the what-if hopes of a lost past, we will miss the experience of life.

    Meditation-then-writing sounds great. I am firm believer that good writing – the ‘right words’, the necessary content, comes not always from a conscious effort. Sometimes it comes from the spaces between, and floats in – unannounced, but always welcomed.

    Another wonderful post – thank you!


    1. The meditation-writing combination is clearly a new one for me. Often the content comes, as you say, “not always from a conscious effort” but from the “spaces between.” I like the way you express that for it is integral to writing. For me, meditation is enriching that experience. Thanks, Matthew, for yet another insightful comment. Also, thanks for the kind words about the post.


  3. Great feeling of being in the ‘present moment’ when I read you report. You transmit to me a sense of a wonderfully contemplative space that you are in, even if there are little whirlwinds, like dust devils, swirling in and out and around now and again. Your basic energy feels very settled ~ I love that! and EmmaRose is a sweetie! What a master to have at your side! ♥ Tomas


  4. When writing a scene I enter an other-now. But like life, stories also contain memory and plans for the future. I always enjoy giving my own now a rest and becoming engaged in someone else’s-the solid if imaginary world of my story.


  5. Oh, I recognize this: “It’s not as if the mere practice of present moment awareness means all is light” (!!!)
    There are days I wish I hadn’t started meditating at all – but then again, the only way forward is through … isn’t it?


    1. Yes, Sigrun, it is through, not around, or not standing still, at least that has been my experience. It is not lost on me that I procrastinate as much about meditation as I do writing. No wonder, the two are merging!


  6. Karen,
    It sounds to me like your writing has become a sadhana (spiritual practice). I love your routine of meditate then write. I will have to try that. I usually meditate before bed, then write in the morning.
    The part where you talked about the woman in the story throwing you back into your past took MY breath away. “Only through the telling of her story am I able to close the doors she opens so easily.” Seems like healing to me. My novel has a lot of autobiography, so I am yanked into the past every time I sit down to write. I have even stopped writing for a time because I wasn’t ready to deal with certain parts of my past. I am strengthened by your example of writing as a “vehicle into and out” of the past.
    Thank you again, my friend. I look forward to trading manuscripts with you in the future. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo


    1. I had not considered my writing a spiritual practice (sadhana) but thanks for the thought as it certainly feels spiritual. My morning meditation time is short because I, too, am a morning writer; my evening meditation follows late afternoon-early evening writing, although not immediately. I do realize how fortunate I am to be able to write and meditate morning and night. It is just a recent occurrence. .

      The old woman’s story takes me to old fears, and I am able to draw on that energy to tell her story. As I do, there are some surprises regarding my past; although my story is not her story, the vibration is similar. As always, thanks so much, Kozo, for your insightful comment, in particular the sadhana suggestion.



    1. EmmaRose is a cat of a certain age so we have a lot in common. As for the “gap,” I cannot recommend meditation more, and it was Deepak Chopra’s phrase that really helped me begin. Thanks, Karen!


  7. I think it gets easier to stay in today as I get older. I’ve worked (for years!) on being okay with my past and I miss too much today if I worry about the future. Thought-provoking post. Thanks.


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