Poetry and Mindfulness
Yesterday, I went to the Berkeley Poetry Festival. Several writers performed their pieces in front of an audience in an auditorium at Berkeley City College. In graduate school, I studied Creative Writing with a concentration in poetry, though I have let my poetry writing slide a bit lately. I have been doing a great deal of journalistic writing – which I love – but yesterday reminded me of the importance of having an artistic outlet in my life, as well.
Poetry has always felt to me like an almost direct expression of consciousness. Like consciousness itself in written form. It doesn’t have to have a narrative – it doesn’t even have to be “about” anything, per se. Poetry, much like painting, has the capacity to capture one moment of thought or feeling. Thought some poems are narrative, poetry is, in my opinion, is more about emotion than story.
For these reasons, poetry is my favorite mode of artistic expression. I have often found that, when writing poetry, I experience a mindset similar to that of meditation. Particularly when I write stream-of-consciousness style poems, in which I simply allow the words to come without analyzing what I’m writing.
Most forms of creative expression require the artist to deeply experience and be sensitive to his or her emotional and mental states. As such, creative endeavors are excellent tools in helping us to achieve a higher degree of awareness and mindfulness.