Journal Zendo, Meditation for Writers

Journal Zendo, Meditation for Writers


This is currently an unorganized brain dump! I’m still finding my shiny dime.


  • Help writers / thinky people use their power of writing to meditate better and achieve better conscious/subconscious alignment, more peace, more happiness, more coherence.

On Journaling


  • Journaling is a form of writing to access the subconscious mind for those who think in words.
  • It is often seen as non-rigorous compared to writing for an audience, but instead should be valued as an integral part of the writing process.
  • It’s like dynamic stretching before going on a full workout–a way to warm up the connection between the page, the fingers, and the mind. In fact, I would argue that the shitty first draft is in a sense, a journal–and the reason why the shiny dime often appears at the very end.
  • There are also a number of authors who have written about the benefits of journaling as a form of meditation practice or as a supportive component, including Natalie Goldberg, Venerable Tan Nisabho, Venerable Nick Keomahavong.
  • One notable way that journaling helps the mind before meditation is through emptying the mind onto the page. It’s one reason why meditation is often difficult for analytical, thinky people–there’s too much going on up there. It’s similar to slamming the brakes on a car that’s going 100 mph–it’s unpleasant and challenging. Instead, journaling is like slowing the car down first, before coming to a full stop. Achieving stillness.
  • Journaling prompts are a great way to pull the answers we already have within ourselves out from the muck and swirl...perhaps it is asking the right questions of ourselves that leads us down the right path. Normal daily life distracts us from asking the right questions in the first place.
  • Improve POP writing through introspection, improve “personal”

On Meditation

  • Meditation is a hard thing to start, and a hard thing to keep going.
  • My teacher Gil Fronsdal would tell us instead of struggling to meditate, set up the causes and conditions for practice instead, like tilling and watering the soil to make a sprout grow.
  • Yet many of us tug at the sprout, pulling it out of its soil thinking that is what makes it grow into a mature plant. We rely on “discipline” and become disappointed when it doesn’t work.
  • But the issue with “discipline” is that it’s too much “doing,” whereas the Buddhist concept of building causes and conditions is a more effective way of “doing through “non-doing.”
  • Setting up causes and conditions for meditation is thinking about how to gently work WITH one’s subconscious drive, rather than forcing it against its will.
  • In this essay, I want to explore practical implementation of the “doing through non-doing” concept through uncovering the constant presence of a subconscious drive, and discuss ways to step out of the way of the subconscious by yourself, and with the help of friends.

On Journal Zendo

What was posted on Geneva:

Hi WOP Friends, - Have you always wanted to keep up a journaling/meditation habit, but find it hard to do so on your own? - I'd like to invite you to Journal Zendo, a weekday hour open to WOP and writing friends to support your journey. - If you aren't sure if you're into journaling/meditation, here are some potential benefits: 🧠 Access your subconscious: - What IS the diff b/t journaling vs writing? - The power of journaling is that we are training ourselves to write from our subconscious mind, to draw out insights that aren't as accessible when we do directed writing. - Your journals can fuel your essay drafts with new angles you haven't (consciously) thought of. 🧘 Convert writing superpower to easier meditation: - Going from the hustle of daily life -> sitting for 20 min like driving a car at 100MPH and then slamming the brakes! Kinda rough! - Instead, use your writing superpower to empty your mind through journaling, and bring it to a peaceful state in preparation for meditation. - Pairing supportive habits also help them both stick. 🙌 Community over discipline: - Here for you most weekdays at 3PM PT (reg below to see which days!) - *Beginner and drop-in friendly* - Both guided and unguided options provided Register here:

(Please register in case of unexpected cancellations, or else I can't reach you!)

  • access to subconscious as opposed to directed writing, well spring of ideas to draw from, nuances you may not have realized within you
  • use your writing superpower to peace
  • cultivate causes and conditions, not discipline

  • A regular, stable, predictable environment to build a habit in community
  • Riding the line between structured and unstructured
    • Optional guided activities
    • Drop in friendly
  • Spiritual friends, the Buddha said is all of the path
  • Routines like meditation and journaling sound good on paper but are challenging to keep up every day.
  • Yeah sure you can discipline yourself into doing them, but when has that worked?
  • The reason why it doesn't work is because you end up debating yourself, you've heard it--the excuses and valid sounding reasons.
  • And the meditation apps are often designed to become distractions in themselves--so many choices, so much monetization and celebrity worship.
  • Instead, try journaling and meditating with real people--find a buddy and set a time to do it every day.
  • If you need someone, join me at 3PM pacific time every weekday. We are all here to help you build a habit until it becomes part of your daily life.

(For this last section, it started out as a video script and I’m still hoping to make this into a video...I think what I need to do to fix above is to almost write it like a can I change the sounds of the words to make them flow better?)

Other interesting thoughts from Sashin