The writer and the monk

Sanne Burger

3 May 2024


Meditation is not good for a writer
It is the last thing he should succumb to

A writer doesn’t need an empty or disciplined mind
On the contrary!
He needs an undisciplined mind
A mind that is overflowing
A chaotic, unruly, scattered mind
A restless, erratic, obsessive mind
A dreamy, sleepless, associative mind
It is the source of his creativity

A writer must be easily distracted
He must be as far from Zen as possible
He must be immediately curious when something happens
For example, when someone sitting next to him on the train lets out a modest sigh, he must think: What’s her story?
Or when he catches a mischievous glint in the eyes of a stranger, he must be immediately fascinated
He must be obsessed with finding out what causes that sparkle
He must be unable to think of anything else
For a bit, at least

A writer must be instantly hopeful by the sight of something exotic or unusual
He must think: Is there a story to it?
Am I about to discover something new?
Will this change my life forever?
Is this the key to my master piece?

A writer is always hungry
Hungry for experience
Hungry for life
Hungry for more

Because, what is there to tell about stillness?
What does the meditating monk has to say?
The monk who has tamed his mind
Who no longer is imagining things
Who has freed himself from desire
He has nothing to say
He is dull
But not the writer!

The writer gets excited when he hears the trumpets of battle
Even when it is his hundredth battle
His blood runs faster when he senses the spirit of rebellion
When he smells the promise of adventure
When he hears the whisper of romance
He is as soft as he is fierce
The sight of beauty melts his heart
He cries with every new born child
Because every child is a miracle to him

Life itself is a miracle to him
He always jumps in head first
He fully immerses himself in it
He wants to experience every part of it
Every emotion
The good and the bad
The high and the low

How different this is for the monk
The monk who wants to withdraw from the world
Who wants to raise above it
So he can look at it from a distance
The monk prefers an eagle perspective
So the world won’t tear him apart

The writer takes life dead serious
While the monk says it is all an illusion
The writer wants to be torn apart
While the monk wants to become whole
The writer wants to know what’s new
While the monk wants to know what never changes
How different are the two

The writer knows that infinity is hiding in every corner
That the secret of the universe is shown everywhere
If only one is able to see
The writer can see
His mind is imaginary enough to capture the magic of life
Where ever he is
Nothing is too mundane for him
But how about the monk?

When spring comes
The writer will dance around in the orchard
Writing poems about life bursting forth
About the rhythm of the seasons
The birds and the bees
While the monk will sit under his tree with his eyes closed
Just like he did all winter
He will not even look up to see the abundant blossoming above his head

When a pink magnolia petal swirls down and gently lands on his hand
Will he open his eyes?
Will he look what unexpected miracle touched his earthly vessel?
Will he recognize the beauty?
Will he do a little dance with the writer?

Sanne Burger


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