Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Rest in Beginner’s Mind

Rest in beginner’s mind encourages you to meditate and rest in the awareness you discovered in slogan 3. So if you don’t already have a regular meditation practice, now would be a good time to begin.

The original lojong slogan is: Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence. Alaya is the essence of consciousness, or awareness. This is your true nature – Buddha mind – which is open and luminous with wisdom. The previous slogan asked you to look into this awareness and examine it. Now you simply let it be.

All you need to do is sit and breathe and let your thoughts go. Noticing the gaps between thoughts, the pauses, can help you to become aware of the stillness that underpins all of experience. But sometimes, even when you sit and relax, the mind continues to burble away to itself. The thinking mind never seems to stop.

It does this because it’s trying to understand and control reality, which is impossible. Letting go into the stillness and emptiness reveals the truth: that you know nothing. This slogan asks you to embrace not knowing and rest in the open spaciousness of your true nature.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by remembering that to create anything you must embrace not knowing. Creativity is a leap into the unknown which can trigger fears and anxieties. This in turn triggers your mind to start over-thinking and trying to control your experience. But this is a fool’s errand. You will never find your voice by listening to the machinations of the intellect.

Your true voice comes from the heart and this can be found by resting in the silence of awareness and unknowing.

Your writing prompt this weekend: Embrace the unknown by writing about all the things you don’t know. Complete these sentences to get started:

  • I know nothing about…
  • I will never understand…
  • I don’t know why…
More in the book: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers
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