As writers a moment arrives for most of us when we need to call upon something larger than ourselves to intervene, to assist in our creative endeavor. Maybe the novel idea, characters, and scenes have been visiting you for years but you just can’t seem to start writing, or you sit in front of your blank screen waiting for the words to burst forth but nothing comes. Or, life required you to take leave of your half-written manuscript, and now, months or years have passed but the work still begs to be completed, or perhaps you obediently shelved your first draft of your book for the recommended three to six months and now what?
How do you start writing when the thought of it seems daunting, or even impossible?
I encountered such a situation, a commonality amongst us writers. In an act of faith coupled with discipline, which I believe is the essence of writing (and spiritual life), I set out on a 40 day pre-writing meditation practice, to invoke the Hindu goddess Saraswati to help me in my effort to write and revise. I sang this mantra “Om Eim Saraswatiyei Swaha“ 108 times, counting on my japa mala, a 109 beaded string like a rosary, before writing each day. Her name, “Saras” means to “flow” and “wati” woman. She is the goddess of hidden wisdom, the symbol of knowledge, music and the arts, and credited for making projects fruitful and successful. You don’t have to be Hindu to believe in the female creative spirit and she goes by many names around the world: “Yanchenma” in Tibetan Buddhism, “Brigid” a Celtic goddess, and “Ix Chel” by the Mayans, just to name a few. Energy is our universe. So, I made a concerted effort to align myself with Her universal creative force. Come to my aid, please! Mother of Muses!
Daily chanting I found my brain being stimulated by the mantra’s words, each sound’s vibration, my creativeness awakened, and that I had already accomplished something as I sat down before my computer to write. At first, my voice was shaky and unrefined like the first draft I was rewriting. As the days passed I noticed my voice becoming stronger, more sure of itself, and clear, and I felt this was also happening with my novel — it was improving and revealing itself more to me. My morning singing mirrored my writing and gave me a way to see that progress and inspired me to keep going. A mantra is a thread of words or one sound, like a quote or beautifully written fragment, sung from the heart, like our words we place on our pages. At the end of the 40 days, I was so pleased with my manuscript’s advancement, I committed myself to another twenty days of chanting. By the end, I felt empowered to continue on my own. Thank you Saraswati, for I am She and She is me! Please feel free to try this yourself and investigate — the power of mantra with writing.
Om Eim Saraswatiyei Swaha Om, “Om and salutations to the feminine Saraswati principle Om.”