The conversational present

Filed under ramblings • Tagged: Ramblings

I’ve been continuing with Power of Now, and that has provided some respite. As I read it I do admire its simplicity and elegance. Sure, there are parts of disagree with, and places where he says too much (vis-a-vis “all illness is mental in origin”)

But it is effective and it moves people. Sometimes I become overly concerned when it comes to meditation and awakening, with outlining a perfect system, rather than just putting something out there that is helpful and liberating. It can grow, as I grow.

I have all the elements in place. The conditional, the unconditional. All that is needed is some basic practice, an understanding of how that practice relates to your bigger picture, and how it affects change in your life.

The Power of Now also seems to flow really well because it is quite conversational in tone. That seems to take a lot of the pressure off. It feels natural and organic. I really like that, but rarely write like that.

I guess my first encounter with presenting information in that way was when I did the interview with Lucy. I would never think to structure information in that way, but the question and answer format was really powerful, and drew certain concepts out in novel ways.

It got me to the essence of what I wanted to say quite quickly, because I wasn’t creating abstract paragraphs; I was responding to someone asking me something. It’s a clarifying process that quickly brings out what is essential.

I am still working on the Waking Up Vipassana Guides. I don’t know why I am hesitating so much. There were some things wrong with the overall structure that I’ve tried to fix, but I don’t know whether there is a wider hesitation when it comes to presenting on this topic.

It’s so strange that I envisaged the blog to be all about meditation and transformation and awakening, and when I finally have a blog post about all 3 in draft it feels out of place compared to everything that’s come before it.

With the exception of Why Meditation Matters. It brings me back to the idea that sometimes the best way to engage people is through more superficial or simple pursuits: fitness, wealth, productivity etc.

It doesn’t matter where you start; only that you engage with sincerity and an open mind. From there you always arrive at the bigger issues, and so the deeper material emerges in flow, as needed, in context.

I’ll push ahead with Waking Up. It has a good personal introduction. And from there I will get a good idea of where to go next. I could experiment with an FAQ format. Sounds quite fun.

When you are not responding to a specific question, there’s a tendency to try and say too much, to tie yourself in knots. I think the Q&A is powerful in that aspect, and the answers are focused. They say what needs to be said and nothing more.

And oftentimes what is left unsaid is just as important.

I see now how to present my articles on fitness, nutrition etc so that they are accessible and still potent. But how to frame what I want to say about meditation is still unclear.

Is that just the nature of it? It’s not an easy thing. It’s not just something you bolt on to your life—it’s a fundamental shift in the way you approach it.

Much of time it is almost as if meditation finds the person. Then they get the thirst. Everything is devoured with gusto.

The question then is whether to write for the person who doesn’t really “get” the deal with meditation, or whether to guide those who already have the itch.

I default to the former, but maybe I should focus more on the latter.

—Dan Bartlett
11 Nov 2018

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