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Creative Meditation: Receptivity

Residing in the state of listening

ife can too easily become a narrow enclosure of hard strictures. We live with agendas, to-do lists, bucket lists, all of which form a tunnel around us. The demands of our goals can put blinders on our eyes. We don’t notice the ways the world is speaking to us. We don’t notice the ways we’re speaking to ourselves. We don’t notice the ways our stories are speaking to us.

Receptivity is a key ingredient of the wondrous alchemy of the mind. Receptivity is a state of listening, not talking. You allow things in so that they can swirl about in the cauldron of your ideas. You have to focus on becoming porous, as if your cells are blending with the world around you. You have to prepare to open yourself with a polite welcoming instead of putting on the armor of defensiveness or going on the attack of assertiveness.

Receptivity brings us back to our beginnings, when our notions of the world were soft and porous.

When you’re receptive, possibilities disclose themselves. You leave your “knowing self” behind, your agenda dissolves, and you become more conscious of the roots of your perspectives. Receptivity invites discourse. You allow yourself to entertain and embrace paradoxes. What is strange or forbidding unveils its unrecognized beauty, and you can see the luster that everything possesses in its own particular way.

Receptivity brings us back to our beginnings, when our notions of the world were soft and porous. We become a child again, capable of exploration. The pressures of time evaporate.

Here’s the challenge: Ask yourself what you have been unreceptive to? What people, experiences, ideas have you fended off? What happens when you allow yourself to be touched? What happens when you let your resistance melt, when you drop the exertions and assertions of your agenda? How can you make receptivity a habit?

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Grant Faulkner is the author of Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo and the co-host of the podcast Write-minded. His essays on creative writing have appeared in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer.

For more, go to grantfaulkner.com, or follow him on Twitter at @grantfaulkner.

Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month, co-founder of 100 Word Story, writer, tap dancer, alchemist, contortionist, numbskull, preacher.

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