Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Automatic Writing

I should look up some of the mystical teachings on automatic writing and see what's behind it, if there's any pointers to it. It'd be better than looking at a blank screen, and yawning at the same time.

Automatic writing is one of the many subjects that I've heard of but don't know much more about it than the bare facts. I believe W.B. Yeats did it, or his wife, or someone close to him. And I've heard of various ones around the turn of the century (1900), in the days of mediums and seances, going into a trance and coming out with something they didn't actually write. So it's said.

I could use a skill like that. And maybe I've got it already but just don't know about it. There seems to be a certain logic in the idea that if you just "let yourself go," you could come up with lots of things that go beyond yourself, that is, the conscious, calculating self. It makes sense because you're always thinking -- and it seems like you're always thinking in multiple streams of thought, some more fully realized than others.

Then there's all the unconscious stuff that may be below or above direct knowledge. Like monitoring everything around you but not being consciously aware of it till something in those other fields becomes more pronounced all at once. Bankei mentions this in his sermons, that the people listening to him were also busy monitoring everything going on around them.

As for automatic writing itself, if you can write, you can also just steam ahead. You could do it consciously, just writing a stream of consciousness type of thing. Then the more you do, the more associations there are in it, the more associations there are, the more your conscious and unconscious will be working in harmony, to produce something. Or you can just sit and think, and keep pressuring yourself, until what you're thinking is only about how you're not thinking anything. That's when you find yourself staring at a blank page or empty screen.

It seems to me that if you could just start, then become less demanding of yourself, i.e., not being a perfectionist, not being afraid to edit, you could relax and stream it out and it wouldn't be bad. In my case, which is of course what I can speak to best, I can relax very well, but no matter how much I write, it still sounds exactly like my conscious thoughts. I don't hear another voice in here anywhere.

Maybe if I were sleep deprived -- and could stay awake -- that's when the real automatic writing might start. Because I'd be that much closer to the dream state, which is sort of like automatic writing, except it's just automatic thinking and automatic imaging.

No comments: