Whatever you meet is the Path is about remembering to be mindful no matter what’s happening. Whatever appears in front of you, that’s what you need to be dealing with because anything you experience can be used to wake you up.
The original lojong slogan is: Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation. When things are going well it’s easy to practice mindfulness and maintain your peace of mind. But when something unexpected happens it becomes more of a challenge to stay focused.
Unexpected disruptions to your routine can be positive or negative, but either way, they can throw you off your game. They never happen at a convenient moment – which is the whole point.
The truth is that life is always changing in unpredictable ways. If you think that practising mindfulness will turn your life into a long peaceful glide through perfection, you’re going to be disappointed. You may like to believe that if you could just control your mind and keep it nice and calm that your life will go the same way.
But you can’t control reality with your beliefs. When life throws you a curve ball, there’s no point in getting angry at it. If you were really paying attention, you would simply catch the ball and carry on. So this slogan is reminding you to welcome these interruptions and distractions as opportunities to practice being present.
Apply this slogan to your writing practice by looking at how you deal with unexpected changes in your writing career. Can you maintain the deep connection to your own voice while under pressure to perform and produce books that sell? Do you give up when repeated rejection and failure makes you doubt your ability to write?
Whatever the ups and downs of your career, this slogan reminds you to meet it with mindfulness. Anything that happens in your life can be used to deepen your understanding of yourself and your writing. Whether the experiences are good or bad, it doesn’t matter. It’s all grist for the mill.
Exercise: Plot out your writing career to date with all its ups and downs. Can you spot a pattern in the way you work? Do you allow yourself to get distracted by unexpected detours?
More in the book – available now: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers
Image: Rocky Paths