Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Behind the Books: The Power of Thank You

Lately, I’ve been reading One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers by Gail Sher (Penguin, 1999). It came to me because my friend Sam Kane’s roof sprung a leak that flooded her office. (Please, please don’t ever let that happen to me.)

I don’t think I would have noticed the book while perusing the stacks at a used bookstore or a library book sale, but I trust Sam--and her taste in books. So I took it, hoping it might be a gem. And it was.

The author sees the world from a Buddhist perspective, and I was intrigued to read about the role her writing plays in her life and how she looks at the writing process.  What struck me most was her take on the idea that when writing is going well, the writer experiences a state of mind that athletes call “in the zone.”

She says that this state is really what Buddhists are seeking when they meditate. And therefore, she says immersive writing can be a form of meditation if . . . wait for it (this is important) . . . the writer expresses gratitude when the session is over.

According to her, saying “Thank you.” is a way of pausing and acknowledging that something good or special has happened to you, something that improved the quality of your life.

She also says, and I think she’s onto something, that the act of expressing gratitude can make you feel more joyful because you are drawing attention to, focusing your thoughts and energy on the good things around you.

I really like that idea. And I can see all kinds of beneficial ways to incorporate it into my life.

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