Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Have A Single Intention

Have a Single Intention is about remembering why you’re training your mind in meditation and compassion.

The original lojong slogan is: All activities should be done with one intention. This intention is what underlies all your feelings, thoughts, and behaviour through the day. No matter what you’re doing, look at what’s going on in the back of your mind and ask yourself: What do I really want?

The idea is to let go of your ego and consider the possibility that you might be here for something other than yourself. Are you here to make money and achieve things that can be lost, such as status, power, and success?

Or are you here to wake up to your true nature?

This slogan reminds you that the purpose of mind training is to be present. When you focus on the present moment and do things mindfully, you begin to notice that there’s no self that is ‘doing’ anything. Everything arises in a kind of spacious openness which is always present.

This is your true nature, which you share with everyone. So the idea of doing things purely for yourself becomes rather silly because there’s no separate self.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by answering an important question: Why do you write?

Writers write for many different reasons. There are no right or wrong answers, but the only way to get the most out of your writing is to get yourself out of the way.

This doesn’t mean you should only write for others and not for yourself. When people talk about writing for others, they usually mean you should give readers what they want. In other words, you write for the market. The only problem with this is that other people don’t really know what they want.

In fact, what readers want from writers is the same thing that writers want from the process of writing. Everybody lives inside their own story. But it feels lonely inside your skull.

Writing turns your mind inside out. It’s a way to meet yourself coming back in the other direction with recognition and compassion. It reminds you that you’re not really alone.

When you let go of your ego, you come home to the reality of who you are. You remember that it’s not really about you and this creates a space where the story can write itself.

Your writing prompt this weekend: In your slogan journal, list all your reasons for writing.

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


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