Writing as a Spiritual Practice again
Writing as spiritual practice of prayer
“We give thanks for writing as a spiritual practice. You have taught us: To write about what is painful is to begin the work of healing. To write the red of a tomato before it is mixed into beans for chili is a form of praise. To write an image of a child caught in war is confession or petition or requiem. To write grief onto a page of lined paper until tears blur the ink is often the surest access to giving or receiving forgiveness. To write a comic scene is grace and beatitude. To write irony is to seek justice. To write admission of failure is humility. To be in an attitude of praise or thanksgiving, to rage against you, God, or to open our inner self and listen, is prayer. To write tragedy and allow comedy to arise between the lines is miracle and revelation. Let us know your presence with us on this new or old spiritual journey and hold us as you always do in the palm of your writing hand.”
Pat Schneider founder Amherst Writers and Artists, “Writing as a Spiritual practice”, Huffington Post, Posted: 04/29/2013 5:33 pm EDT
In Reaching Out, The Three Movements of the Spiritual Journey, Henri Nouwen describes writing about the spiritual journey like making prints from negatives. This is exactly what both Nouwen and Buechner do. By example they help us focus our life’s camera lens and observe how seeing God at work in the world, our lives, the lives of others can then be better understood when we use writing as a developing solution to look at and re-image in reverse, sometimes using color to see better what is happening.
Writing has become my best form of prayer. As my fingers touch the key board, words come out that I never planned to use. When I write, my body moves my relationship with God from my head to my heart. Writing, like dream work, study, meditation, the labyrinth is certainly just one of so many spiritual practices, but it is the place where I most often and most consistently meet God.
A great way to begin writing as a spiritual practice is making a commitment, a date, to write every day using Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. You start with morning pages where you write down whatever comes into your head, a stream of consciousness, the first thing in the morning in long hand for three pages. The writing may make no sense, but it is a great way to let the words flow and getting used to writing without a constant censor or critic. Personally, this has been a fun way to take out all the extra sometimes unknown, often critical material living rent free in my head. I see morning pages as a way to “take out the garbage” living in my head. Putting these thoughts down on paper often takes away their power. Working through and discussing Cameron’s book in a group also can make it a richer experience.
Many people also do spiritual writing by journaling their thoughts, especially after practicing Lectio Divina.