Nonstop Writing

I write in my journal most mornings for 45 minutes to an hour. For awhile now, as part of this morning writing, I take 10-15 minutes to engage in the practice of keeping my hand moving as I write. I don’t stop to reflect or, in any way, move attention away from the direct experience of writing whatever shows up moment to moment.

When you keep your hand moving there is neither time nor space for “the censor” to move into the foreground of awareness and interrupt your flow. The writing is fresh, immediate, and alive, as is your connection to yourself at these times. This practice helps you bypass the logical, analytical parts of the brain and you may plunge headlong into the vast, mysterious unconscious.

In this process you are not directing your writing. You are letting go of control and venturing into the unknown. Insights may arise, as may memories you have been keeping at bay. You may discover, for example, that you are less satisfied than you consciously thought you were about your current job situation. You may have been telling yourself that things were more acceptable than they really are. Now you are faced with the truth. Or you might find yourself inspired to plan a river-rafting trip or write a poem about a life-changing event in your life, having never considered doing these things before.

How to begin? You can start with a particular theme, concern, or feeling that is present for you. Go with where the energy is in the present moment. Bring your attention to your experience, including physical sensations, without labeling or analyzing what’s arising. Start writing whatever comes to you. Let your hand move across the page. Allow. Let go. Be with. Keep your hand moving. Let yourself be surprised.

In addition to providing a gateway into the unconscious, the process of nonstop writing can help you open to spaces where you discover the non-solidity of thoughts and where you can begin to break your identification with the “monkey mind.” You come to see that thoughts aren’t solid and that identifying with them is what creates so much of our suffering. You will start to see the way the mind works, and that “velcroing” onto mental formations has governed so much of your seeing and acting.

The other day I started writing about a concern I was having about my granddaughter, Sophie’s, allergies. I spilled out all the worries, then got to the underlying fear, allowed the fear to just be, and then I experienced a deep peace and spaciousness, all of which was expressed on the page. I was able to see clearly that all those fear-based thoughts, primarily about an imagined future, were just that: fears and thoughts. Realistically, I had no idea whether they would manifest or not. Even if they did, I had no way of knowing what the lived experience of any of that would be – for Sophie, me, or anyone else. I had become attached to the worrying mind and was starting to spin out, believing these thoughts were real. Nonstop writing can be a transformative practice, a means for deconstructing our limited identifications of who we are and what “reality” is.