Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Don’t Lose Track

Don’t lose track is about remembering your inspiration and practising gratitude to help you maintain your commitment to mind training and awakening. The original lojong slogan is: Pay heed that the three never wane, and it refers to the three causes in slogan 45.

It’s hard to maintain your enthusiasm and keep practising over the many years it can take to wake up – and it could take a lifetime. You feel inspired at the start of your practice, but can soon lose track of what you’re trying to do. So this slogan encourages you to practice gratitude and discipline in relation to the three causes.

First you need to be grateful to your teachers and community and for the fact that you found the inspiration to begin practising. Next is gratitude for the teachings themselves. You’re lucky to have found a teaching that helps you to become happier. Finally, you need the discipline to keep practising and ensure that your lifestyle enables you to do so.

The point of this slogan is to keep you on track. When you feel yourself slipping it reminds you to be grateful and to step up your practice. Practising gratitude means you’re much less likely to take things for granted and you won’t waste the opportunity to wake up and remember who you really are.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by remembering your inspiration and reasons for writing. Your initial inspiration to become a writer probably came from reading other writers, and your greatest teachers will be the writers who came before you. Be grateful for the inspiration to write, no matter where it comes from, and remember to honour your teachers.

This slogan also encourages you to be grateful for the opportunity to learn and practice your craft. You can’t learn without support and feedback from other writers, whether in person or via the internet and craft books. There has never been such a wealth of information available to anyone, anywhere, so be grateful for your writing friends.

Finally, this slogan encourages you to keep writing. This is a lot easier if your life is organised in a way that supports your desire to write. So if you haven’t written for a while, this slogan can remind you to get back on track.

The best way to maintain your focus and the discipline to keep writing when life gets difficult, is to remember to be grateful for the opportunity to write at all. You never know, you might end up writing something that inspires another person to become a writer.

Your writing prompt this weekend: Look at your list of teachers from the previous slogan. Choose your top three inspirations and write in your slogan journal about how and why these individuals are so important to you.

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


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