“I have the glimpse but not the state…”

Funny how you can come upon something profound and reassuring when you least expect it. Take for example this youtube video that appeared on my recommended, maybe because I’d been watching a lot of yoga videos in general:

The first thing you would notice is that the Himalayan yogi is very scantily dressed in minus zero degree temperatures. That should lend some credence to anything he has to say or at least make you a little bit curious. He started off uneventfully talking about Hinduism and divinity and so on. And then he said something that I thought was beautifully profound or particularly relevant to me:

“I have the glimpse but not the state…”

He said that in the context of his meditation/enlightenment but I feel that way too when I’m writing. Sometimes I get into a state where the words just flow out of me, becoming unaware of anything that’s around, not caring about the resultant words and even needing a second to come back to normal. But for the most part, I only have the glimpse. I struggle to empathize with my characters or put myself in their shoes.

Maybe that’s the reason why I’ve given up on my novel and switched to write short stories for now. It’s hard to maintain that “state” for 250 pages, easier to maintain it for 25. It was nice to hear something so reassuring though, especially in my moments of self-doubt.

I guess if you pursue something with utter devotion, it can become a meditative experience. You can have a glimpse at enlightenment, seeing things more clearly than otherwise. For writers, it’s more akin to entering a different world or becoming someone else for a while and you never forget such an experience. The line between what is you and what is your character becomes blurred and you can freely switch between the two. Becoming both the observer and the observed.

You don’t dwell on it though because you need to finish your story. You keep trying to enter that world or that time or that state over and over again, only occasionally succeeding. And that is the process of writing.

Does it make sense to anyone else or is it all too Deepak Chopra-y?

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