This guest post is by Orna Ross.
If you’re a blogger, you should meditate. That’s the conclusion of a flurry of recent research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience.
Willpower, discipline, and hard work may squeeze your blog post out. But if you want to produce words and ideas with ease, if you want to revel in the joy that makes it all worthwhile, and if you want to be as good as you can be, you need to know how to nurture inspiration, detach from daily distress, and cultivate creative mind states.
For all of this, meditation is the best tool in your pack.
What is meditation?
A meditation is a moment—long or short—when the thought traffic that normally marches through our minds slows or ceases. To meditate, in the sense that most people interpret the word, is to deliberately focus attention in a way that makes this happen. We minimize surface thought to help our mind slip into stillness.
Meditation does not, as some people seem to think, make you withdrawn or oblivious. On the contrary, it fosters a deep awareness of what is being created in any given moment.
It moves us from being caught in surface thoughts and life circumstances towards the condition that Buddhists call Big Mind—an alert, relaxed, creative, present-centered awareness. This ancient understanding of how the human mind works is now being understood in a new way, and validated, by contemporary science.
Meditation offers enormous benefits for everyone—and particular benefits for those who are engaged in a creative activity like blogging.
1. Meditation opens creative space
Neuroscience is showing, through brain mapping, how meditation affects brain wave activity. The most striking difference is a shift, in the meditator, from the stress-prone right frontal cortex to the calmer left frontal cortex.
Regular meditation also shows increased brain activity in areas associated with the creative and the mystical.
This is the shift that Albert Einstein described as “the most beautiful emotion we can experience…the [underlying] power of all true art and science.” What it means for the blogger is experiencing more ideas, insights, and connections—the currencies in which we trade.
2. Creates conditions for insight
Insight, perception, revelation: these are the qualities that mark out the good blogger from the mediocre, the great blogger from the good. Meditation creates the mental and emotional conditions in which they are most likely to flourish. For centuries, it was thought that such qualities were the innate gifts of a special elite—born not made. Now brain mapping shows them to be available to all who meditate.
3. Meditation eases blogger’s block
It’s not easy putting yourself out there, day after day, post after post. It can make us edgy—vulnerable, raw, a little crazy sometimes. Brain scans show that meditation reduces activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear. It blunts our edginess, creating a place of safety from which we can take risks. It allows us to become, as Flaubert suggested we should, steady and well-ordered in life, so we can be fierce and original in our blog.
4. Meditation gives us roots
With that steadiness comes what Buddhists call “solidity,” a calm acceptance of self (see also #5), and a centered belief in what we have to offer.
5. Meditation quietens the critics
This steady solidity makes us very much less vulnerable to critics and to the pressures and persuasions of others. And it also muzzles the meanest critic of ’em all: the great fault-finder within.
6. Meditation claims the essential self
“Be yourself,” Oscar Wilde once said. “Everyone else is taken.” But it’s not always easy, especially if you’re trying to do it in print. Consciously quieting the chatter of our surface mind helps us to claim, and express, our unique self—the indefinable essence that makes us different from anyone else who ever lived.
Also, by detaching us from our surface, chattering mind and the sticky grasp of personalized emotion, meditation allows us creative distance to observe ourselves, others, and life itself with clarity. This makes our blogs more original and compelling.
7. Meditation improves attention and concentration
Essentially, meditation is focus. Practicing it daily helps us to have it and to be able to draw on it when needed—an essential when negotiating the distracted and distracting online world.
8. Meditation makes us mindful
Blogging is a never-ending game. As soon as we finish one post, we’re thinking of the next. Regular meditation develops our ability to appreciate what we’re achieving and getting right, as well as what still has to be done. To enjoy what we are making in the moment of its making. To value process as much as product.
9. Meditation fosters flow
For bloggers, flow is that delectable condition where words seem to appear of their own volition, where all we have to do is turn up at the page and dictate ’em. Analyzed in depth by creativity theorist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and others, flow has been found to induce similar brain states as meditation.
10. Meditation makes us happy
The transformations induced by meditation and creative activity decrease stress, early depression, and anxiety. This brings about a long list of proven physical and emotional benefits, from eliminating insomnia to easing addiction.
Against this long list (which grows longer as each tranche of research turns up new benefits) bloggers regularly cite one problem. They’d love to meditate but they “can’t”: they don’t have time. For all the reasons outlined above, it’s clear that for bloggers, meditation doesn’t take time, it makes time.
What’s your experience? Have you ever meditated for creative benefit? What happened? Would you like to try? What’s stopping you?
Read Orna’s ebook, .
I meditate by tangling – this is something everyone can do, and all you need is a pen and some paper. It calms your mind and increases your creativity and confidence.
Check out http://tanglepatterns.com for information and step-by-step instructions on how to draw lots of patterns. And be sure to visit the http://tanglepatterns.com/zentangles/what-is-a-zentangle page to learn all about Zentangle®.
For those among us who don’t know how to sit quietly to meditate, this is your answer.
I can recommended meditation to everyone. I hat a really stressfull life which endup in getting anxiety and depression. These days i do things much slower and i meditate everyday. I do breathing meditation which clears my hat. It really really does help you to calm down. Try it for yourself especially when you have a busy life.
Nice information. But still I am not convinced about meditation helping blogging.
Why not try it and then decide?
I agree, meditation can be very helpful for bloggers. In fact, it is proven to be very helpful for any kind of work. Not only does it help relax our muscles but also relax our minds and help get rid of unnecessary chaos in our head. Having a crowded and confused mind can be very dangerous, especially when one is developing, designing or working on some project. It’s a great stress buster indeed. With a clear mind, we can think better, more creatively and in an organized manner.
I discovered meditation this summer and it’s fantastic and keeps me from getting overwhelmed. I was inspired to write 2 blogs and for The Examiner online. I’m also heavily involved in three forums. All this while working a full time job and caring for my family. Meditation keeps me from giving up and from going completely nuts!
Great post! I appreciate the ways meditating has impacted my life <3
I was doing a fair bit of experimenting with different methods of relaxation. Trying to keep a balance Mentally, Physically and spiritually in these hectic times, can be quite difficult to achieve.
The general consensus out the is that due to there being 24 hours in a day, we should divide them into 8 hours of Work, 8 hours of Recreation and 8 hours of relaxation. Whether meditation(There are many forms) or any other relaxation and centering techniques, I feel that if it helps the person with their life(gives them greater fulfillment inner and outer Peace) it can only be considered a good thing.
I think not only bloggers, but everyone should meditate. The benefits of meditation are well worth the little time investment that is required.
I meditate or visualize every hour Orna. Meditation is quite wonderful. It dissolves writer’s block and improves your concentration immensely. With all my blogs combined I have written nearly 1200 posts, and I chalk that up to my hourly meditation sessions, which allows ideas to flow to me with greater ease.
Thanks for sharing!
i have never heard of this before. although i am not too sure that meditation will help us small bloggers (part time bloggers to be precise) in much way but for the full time bloggers, it is sure a big thing. thanks for the share
I actually tested myself before. I would write then meditate, and then I swapped it around so I would meditate then write. I had my friends look at what I wrote in both situations, they all said the writing I did after I meditated flowed better, and had much more depth and emotion attached to it. I myself found that the writing process was much easier after I meditated. The words flowed so fast it was only when I went back to edit did I surprise myself with what actually came out. If you don’t believe meditation can help you, try doing what I did, write then meditate, then swap it around and meditate then write and see for yourself if you notice a difference. Also I do recommend a guided meditation or some music to start as it helps bring you to that peaceful place much easier then sitting in a quiet space, at least in the beggining.
“meditation doesn’t take time, it makes time” So true, I love this.
For a newbie, blogging is full of pain and trauma and its very difficult to earn online until and unless you have some great content. one additional benefit of mediation – combat frustration :
First of all, I do agree that meditation in any way or form spawns a calmer mind, hence one is going to be more efficient at ones job, not necessarily only at blogging.
I meditate by playing music, it really help both at being more efficient in general and being better at playing music. Win-Win.
thanks for an interesting article. Keep it up!
I’m with Michael, music plays a big role, especially at work when on a roof installing solar panels. Can really do a bit of thinking up there with the right music and wonderful views.
My wife is bhuddist, for her, it’s all about mantra. From limited discussions I’ve had, quite a few women have found the mantra approach fascinating, it could work for female bloggers by extension.
This is absolutely true that meditation improves the concentration power and can write a unique blog. It immediately make the mind fresh. So I agreed with this blogger.
Well, just like any other blogger, I often found myself lacking the ideas for new posts or simply lacking the power to keep it going. Fortunately, I managed to eventually overcome these problems, but probably that by following your advice, it would make things even easier.
I have never meditate, but this article convinced me, I shoud try.
So pleased to hear that… Let me know how you get on!
This definitely makes sense to me. I’ll give it a try.
It’s meditation day around the blogosphere today. :) We wrote about meditation today as well — it’s great to see the awareness spread around this great tool.
It really does help. I’ve never had a program for this, but started trying it out last week. Calming the mind after it speeds up so fast is priceless and has been helping. Hardly an expert, but this is a very good article and suggestion…
Thanks for your insightful post Orna. I’ve been practicing meditation for over 30 years. The correlation you make between writing and meditation is right up my alley. LOL
Bringing awareness to our thought processes enables us to see that we are not our minds. Since we can change and observe our minds – who is doing the changing and observing?
I like the word inspiration or being in spirit. You are that being in spirit. Wherever you find inspiration – that is where you are.
True art has unimpeded access to truth. To see truth requires clarity and freedom from the tyranny of the mind.
Mediation provides the deep cleaning required to clear the sub mind of hardened, built-up conditioning, re-presentations and positions that limit access to truth.
Letting go, or surrender enables us to experience truth in it’s entirety or wholeness. Meditation allows us to slip into the gap between thought so that we may access the no-thingness of source or spirit.
Bringing thought into manifestation through writing brings spirit into being.
It keeps the mind calm! So writing is easier and your mind is much clearer.
Meditation helps me during the brainstorming processes. Ideas flow freer.
Great quote from Wilde! I for one meditate alot and I would like to further add that doing daily QiGong exercises -which is like meditation with bodily movement- is a big gigantic help as well ;)
Meditation is the need of the hour. In our day to day life we get lot of stress. In fast changing world, we are forced to do multiple activities at the same time. That leads to higher stress. This stress is accumulated in your body everyday. Mediation is the best way to remove this stress. Meditation is total relaxation. Art Of Living has very good workshop on Meditation.
I started sitting with monks at The San-Francisco Zen center back in the 90’s and created a personal practice for myself. In the past few years I have been doing an annual 10 day silent Vipassana meditation retreat.Those have been life changing, all I can say is that it provides the tools to handle what life tosses in your direction and to live in the present moment. So, the largest benefit that I feel is “equanimity.” I strive for personal excellance and meditation brings me closer & closer to my own authentic, creative truth. I can’t imagine life with out it. Fuel your creativity & your life and meditate. You won’t be sorry you did it! Those around you will reap the benefits as well.
I like meditation.Thanxs for sharing interesting informations.It help me so much.
Seems like an interesting idea. But, basically, meditation is another change of activity. All these statements about mind getting tired are partially false.
The only thing you have to do for getting a rest and fresh ideas is changing an from one activity to another the moment you feel tired.
Excellent! I keep telling my patients that ;)
I cannot agree more about meditation. It helps with so much :) I am so lucky to be able to teach meditation too so spend a lot of time in the quiet moments of my mind and always feel so inspired. At the moment I am writing a book and always meditate before and the words just flow. It will definitely help bloggers – meditate and enjoy the moment!
A nice article to get some “break” from writing and constantly working. We indeed forget to relax, but whenever I’m on the computer I turn on the music and things get ten times better! Being calm truly allows you to get some more ideas for writing, and to actually think where your blog is going, what to do etc. It’s funny how when you’re not doing something, you get the most ideas for it.
Rather than emptying the mind, try meditating on an idea or subject. Emptying the mind allows it to be filled with anything later on (your next meal, an appointment, finances, etc.) If you’re meditating with the intent to write or expand your creativity to get passed a mental block, meditating on a general idea will get you much further. Say you write about social media and small business: Stop and think about the word small business for awhile. Repeat the phrase in your head over and over again. Ideas will begin to flow as you use focused meditation rather than unintentional meditation. As you meditate on an idea, the block is broken and the idea begins to form into something much more specific and intentional.
I’m always in tune with the cosmos – that’s the secret of my success.
This topic is very interesting to me because I also practice meditation and write about similar things at my blog. In fact I am doing dynamic meditations where I do visualizations of my goals, telling my affirmations, do some healing, sending positive energy and thoughts. You did excellent job naming these meditations advantages for bloggers. My inspiration for blogging usually comes right after awakening and that state is similar to meditation.
hmm…..this stuff sounds a little somehow, but nevertheless, i’ve seen how meditation helped a few other areas of my life with clear thinking and confidence being part of the benefits. i should think therefore that meditation should be able to help blogging. i gonna try it to see…
Having thought about this, it seems a big benefit of meditation is that it removes distractions. I do not meditate, but great ideas come to me when I am away from my computer, phone, TV or anything that floods my brain with information. My best idea-generating place – on an airplane, pen and notebook in hand. Second best – coffee shop, with pen and notebook. That’s notebook, not a napkin:)
Very well said and kudos for saying it. I am a firm believer in the power of meditation and it has given me such priceless piece of mind that I publish many articles on it as well, so I not only endorse this idea, I practice and do my little part in cultivating the awareness of this wonderful tool! Bloggers, website publishers, doctors, bus drivers, football players….everyone can benefit from this ancient practice, so thank you for sharing it on this platform, as well.
Meditation changes the actual structure of you brain… which is good. I often recommend that newbies start with ‘transcendental (‘TM’) meditation’.