Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Remember What’s at Stake

Remember what’s at stake is about walking your talk and remembering to focus on what matters to you most. In the context of this teaching, that’s your intention to wake up and help others.

The original lojong slogan is: Observe these two, even at the risk of your life, the two being the refuge and bodhisattva vows. But don’t be intimidated by the idea of taking these vows. It just means making a commitment to free yourself so you can be happier and help others to do the same.

The refuge vow means placing your faith in the Buddha, the teachings, and the spiritual community. It’s a commitment to awaken to your true Self as Buddha nature, to grow in knowledge and understanding, and to support your fellow travellers on the path.

The bodhisattva vow means doing this for the benefit of all sentient beings. In other words, it’s about honouring life and living with compassion and wisdom.

This slogan reminds you that you don’t make your vow or commitment once and then forget about it. Life is complicated and you’ll be tempted to drift back to sleep, so you have to continually renew your vows. Every day, you need to remember what’s at stake and why you are here.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by remembering how important your writing is, especially when other parts of your life pull you away from your dreams. When you remember what’s at stake, you write as if your life depends on it.

Imagine you’re on your death bed. Do you want to have regrets? Will you be saying, I wish I’d written a novel, or I had a great idea for a story but never got around to writing it, or I could have been a great poet if I’d followed my inspiration.

Don’t keep putting it off. You don’t know what’s going to happen in your life, so take advantage of the time you have. You either want to write, or you don’t. Use this slogan to remind you to stay committed to your writing goals. When you catch yourself making excuses because you haven’t written anything today, be honest with yourself.

What will happen if you keep making excuses?

This isn’t about forcing yourself to write, or driving yourself to achieve the impossible. It’s just about making the most of your talent and the opportunity you have to express yourself.

Your writing prompt this weekend: Do some research and find out about writers who have lost their lives or have been imprisoned because of their work. Could you do what they did?

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


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