NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH:
Yoga for Creativity – Part Two – Sadhana
AMBER LOVE 16-NOV-2017 Posts like this are first read by the generous supporters at Patreon.com/amberunmasked. Consider adding to my tip jar so I can afford things like paying my car insurance and website expenses. I’m also an Amazon Influencer and Affiliate so buying through my links modestly helps.
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SADHANA means “daily commitment to spiritual practice“. For yogis, a lot of them interpret that mean to daily asana practice. Others, like myself, see it as a daily commitment to the broader definition of yoga which includes components: no harm, moderation, truthfulness, order/cleanliness, self study, dedication to god, self discipline, concentration/focus, meditation, karmic action, seeking dharma/ethical purpose, and others.
An example of this is how I spent 40 days with a specific sadhana to help make the world better through service. With some exceptions, I did this through sharing links online that I felt were important. I shared people’s crowdfunding (personal or professional); animal adoption posts; important news/political information; and even recommendations for books/comics which would show publishers and creators that I appreciate certain work and believe they deserve to be seen more. I also took the time to make a one-minute video of playing my singing bowl (challenging because there’s always background noise here so one minute was all I could manage).
In person, I did things like give more compliments, especially to total strangers. This has to be done correctly or you can come off creepy. In one case, I told a much older man that he reminded me of the actor Gerald McRaney. He didn’t even know who that was. I also commented on a cosplay acquaintance’s skills with makeup and the costumes he makes. He was thrilled! It happened to be a day when he was lacking confidence. I had no way of realizing that.
This particular sadhana was also during hurricane disasters and the (probably last) Superhero Day Fundraiser at Comic Fusion. There was plenty of community service to do or share. Since I don’t have the typical amount of disposable income for charities, I also sacrificed another $25 to lend a woman through Kiva. This was my second microloan. I even set up a team on Kiva so anyone who wants to join me, can do so; you can choose your own recipient.
All of the things I did were “normal” for me but not necessarily daily commitments. I kept a spreadsheet which I taped into my yoga journal (I have no desire to entire the expensive world of hardcore bullet journaling and scrapbooking). With a sadhana practice, you hold yourself accountable to your daily commitment.
If you’ve decided to participate in something like National Novel Writing Month or even if you set your own 30 Days to A Novel deadline, you’re practicing part of the yoga life. The additional component here is probably where creative people have a difficult time — doing your daily spiritual practice/routine without your ego being in the way. You’re finding ethical (hopefully) purpose as an artist; you’re being truth to yourself; you’re not harming yourself or others intentionally; you are probably “in the zone” when working through deep concentration.
When it comes to art, we are literally pouring ourselves into our work. How can ego be removed from such work?
Wassily Kandinsky said, “In each picture is a whole lifetime imprisoned, a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes, and joys. Whither is this lifetime tending? What is the message of the competent artist? … To harmonize the whole is the task of art.”
Personally, I’m not much of a fan of modern art, but I like what Kandinsky was getting at with his philosophy. He was notable for authoring the modern practice of art creation being spiritual. His book was called, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (on Amazon $5.95), so quite literally, he was sharing his path of artistic enlightenment.
The top creators will tell you that artists should be paid for their work. I agree completely. Where one has to watch is when the ego transforms into a large creature clawing its way out of your boundaries and trying to make the rules for you. Ego would hold out for six-figure book deals that may never come; or they do, but they’re from a company with bad reputation. Being paid for your work could therefore mean accepting less but receiving what people can afford to pay right now. This is why I love the teachers and artists who don’t mind offering some of their services/work as “pay what you can” even if that is zero dollars that day.
Kandinsky said, “When religion, science and morality are shaken … and when the outer supports threaten to fall, man turns his gaze from externals in on to himself. Literature, music and art are the first and most sensitive spheres in which this spiritual revolution makes itself felt.”
Can you commit to NaNoWriMo or other 30-40 day time frame of writing daily to achieve a goal? Can you do that without ego being in the way? Can you separate commercialism from your desire to write?
People far better versed in translating Kandinsky’s poetic lengthy paragraphs can explain it more succinctly. The quotes above came from Brain Picking’s 2014 article by the brilliant Maria Popova.
YOGA FOR WRITERS Part One is available. Learn about yoga poses and sequences that can help you loosen up tight muscles and address some of pain common with sitting at a desk.
YOGA FOR WRITERS Part Three is available for Patreon backers first. Learn about some of the yoga life that does not involve postures. Non-violence, cleanliness, and community service.