Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Play in the Dream

Play in the dream reminds you to apply what you learn while meditating to the rest of your life. Mind training isn’t just about meditation; the idea is to put what you learn to practical use in order to make life better for yourself and others.

The original lojong slogan is: In post-meditation, be a child of illusion. It’s a reminder to not take yourself too seriously, but to play like a child. From the previous slogan you know that you know nothing. A beginner’s mind is like the mind of a child: open and curious about life, full of joyful enthusiasm and spontaneity. So this is how to approach your spiritual practice and your life.

You can’t control reality because it’s constantly changing and inherently mysterious and uncertain. You know that if you try to control your experience too much it leads to suffering. So the only sane response is to relax and enjoy the show. Play like a child in the dream of life.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice when you can’t stop worrying about some future possibility or problem. Every time you sit down to write, you begin to think about what will happen if nobody likes what you’re writing, or whether anyone will want to publish your book, or if they will even want to read it in the first place. You don’t know what will happen, so this slogan tells you to lighten up and stop worrying about things you can’t control.

As a writer you get to play in the dream every time you sit down to write. Don’t spoil your own fun by taking yourself or the writing so seriously that you can’t enjoy it.

Your writing prompt this weekend: Write like a child! Get some crayons, felt tip pens or coloured pencils and write a story as if you were child. Write in exercise books or on plain paper so you don’t have to worry about writing neatly. You might like to sit on the floor or at a low table to get in the mood.

More in the book: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers

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