By Cayla Muschel, Arts and Culture Editor
Meditation has been a trendy practice for a while. As college students, we can certainly understand the appeal of mindfulness; our brains are cluttered with tasks and to-do lists, and we try to stay afloat on top of it all. But there are different sorts of meditation, often with differing purposes. The clutter of everyday life, in addition to hindering awareness of ourselves and our goals, often clouds creativity in particular. This leads to much-bemoaned writer’s block (or painter’s block, or musician’s block…). A meditative practice known as “Morning Pages” is utilized by some in order to clear that clutter.
The practice of Morning Pages is the brainchild of author Julia Cameron, as detailed in her book The Artist’s Way. The purpose of traditional meditation is essentially to achieve a stable and calm state of mind and increase awareness of inner processes; overall, to become a more happy and grounded person. Morning Pages is a meditative practice meant to clear all the white noise from the brain and induce creativity. It involves writing three pages (Cameron recommends no more and no less) by hand every morning, shortly after waking up. Morning pages are not art and are not intended to sound well-written; the writer must avoid self-censorship.
For many of us, even those of us not looking to be particularly creative, the sheer amount expected of us in everyday life can often come between us and mindfulness. Morning Pages are intended not only to induce creativity, but to spur action and increase self-awareness. Unlike traditional meditation, however, the purpose of Morning Pages is not to calm oneself. “Unlike conventional meditation, which may lull you out of taking action, the pages magnify our discontent, pointing out actions we could take,” writes Cameron, in her companion book to The Artist’s Way, The Miracle of Morning Pages. If action is needed, says Cameron, it will repeatedly come up in one’s Morning Pages until it is resolved.
Traditional meditation is not for everyone, and everyone’s goals are different. Morning Pages may help those who don’t have the attention span for traditional meditation, are looking to improve their creativity, or are looking to become more proactive, rather than calmer.
Writer’s Note: Thank you to Dr. Ann Peters for introducing this practice to her Introduction to Creative Writing class!