I rest on the shoulders of giants. We all do, and we must never forget them. They have carried us to where we are now, and if we fulfil our destiny in life, then one day we will be the ones with the shoulders.
One of the shoulders I rest on as a writer is American author Natalie Goldberg. She found her voice as a writer through Zen Buddhism, and she has written numerous books about that unique combination.
Seeds of writing
I found her books in the mid 1990s when I was still aspiring to become a journalist, but the seeds they sowed in me soon became much more than journalism.
I carried them with me for years without knowing exactly what to do with them, but as I matured I discovered that they had taken root in me and turned into a strange fusion of journalism, writing and spirituality.
As I write this text, I can still feel those roots deep beneath me. I still absorb nourishment from them in every word I write. They are forever an integrated part of my foundation as not only a writer, but a human being.
Sitting doesn't do it
I have given Natalie Goldberg many thoughts over the years. To have a person like that, who is willing to share so much of herself in order to slowly, but steadily, change our way of writing, is a gift beyond words. It's of great inspiration.
She has led the way for not only her own generation, but also mine, and her books will probably continue to do so for generations to come. They will stand on the bookshelf as a timeless monument wrapped in emptiness, ready to teach us important lessons. Like a master in deep meditation.
The funny thing is that mediation was never my thing. Sitting, as Natalie Goldberg calls it, has never done the job for me.
Writing does it
Writing has, though. Every. Single. Time. I have never been in the process of writing and not felt it as a kind of spiritual practice. Even grocery lists do that for me.
Whenever I write, I feel a connection to something I cannot describe in words. Something I believe is my voice connecting with my soul — and then everything.
Had it not been for Natalie Goldberg I don't think I would have understood that writing can be a practice in its own right. That I don't have to sit on the mat to practice, but that pen and paper is all I need.