== kensho ==

silent conversations

Every morning I sit, pen and paper in hand before the day begins, intending to have a silent conversation with myself.

The rhythmic hum of the nearby refrigerator, or occasional bird song colours the morning silence. It is in these early hours of the morning that solitude exists without a sense of loneliness. That the inexorable current of the day, has not yet begun.

The whole world crackles with the potential of what is yet to come, and you are there to bear witness; a fly on the wall watching the gears of the machinery whir into action.

A liminal space. A place of pre-action.

A Borges quote comes to mind: “Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire”.

It is in these early hours that I feel alive with all the potential futures scattered out in front of me. Time no longer seems limited, but instead expands endlessly in front oneself, ready to be traversed.



I’ve been journalling by hand daily now for the past few weeks. Coffee by my side, before any input from technology.

This act has subtly and deeply altered the way I move through the world. When one writes, subconscious ideas and connections spill onto the page that otherwise remain hidden in the ephemerality of thought or the rapidity of speech.

“I often don’t know what I think till I write about it” Joan Didion recounts. I find that to be accurate. Writing reminds me that I do not understand the inner machinery (yet I must always strive to).

In an age of information abundance, we don’t need more input (opening smartphone/app), we need more room to process and filter the signal from the noise.

Often, I recount the events of the day or previous days, and allow the hidden tensions to reveal themselves in the light of ink.

It is not so much that you find or seek to find a solution to a problem (although that is a valid form of focused journalling), But more that you create the space to allow the right question to arise.

As any good therapist knows, the right questions are more important than the right answers.

Journalling has become a spiritual practice in addition to meditation. It is a sense making tool and a way of communicating with your subconscious. If there is one thing meditation has taught me after sitting for a couple thousand hours, is that we really don’t understand our minds. There are layers and layers of hidden complexity.

The various psycho-technologies(as John Vervaeke calls them) act to poke holes in the exterior and bring a magnifying glass to the inner landscape.

Start the day with the at of creation, of ordering the chaos; of becoming familiar with your own mind.

Practical Tips

Create a ritual

There is a dearth of ritual in modernity. Create your own rituals, or borrow from whatever tradition. Have a dedicated space and time. I find that early mornings, or late nights are spaces where the mind becomes porous and prone to exploration.

Use beautiful tools

If it feels good, you are more likely to do it. Personally, I enjoy fountain pens (Lamy 2000) and the traveller notebook format.

Write by hand

Write by hand. It is slower and more thoughtful. Write away from distractions, notification and your smartphone. If you allow those, the trance will be broken.

What do I write about?

Anything you want. But if one has a blank mind, a useful starting point is to simply recount your day or previous day and allow the various thought and ideas to arise originally.

Another approach is to use specific prompts.

A helpful mindset to hold is to “describe, not just state”. Show don’t tell.

Write about the sounds, sights, sensations and feelings that arose, or are currently present, and allow them to steer you in the right direction. The more descriptive you are, the more the currents of the psyche will lead you to new islands of discovery.

What is someone reads it?

Writing can steer us into troubling and turbulent waters. Difficult thoughts and emotions, that one wants to keep private.

But at some level, writing itself creates a distance. You are a messy conglomeration of identities and subtends co-existing and co-inhabiting the same consciousness.

You can imaging that each page you write, will be burned as soon as you finish it ; the ultimate process orientated mindset. Now maybe, one can extend that same lens to the level of your thoughts, beliefs, and even layers of identity. As the Buddha said ‘everything is on fire’.

Personally, I don’t care if someone happens to read these thoughts. I rarely go back and read what I wrote anyways. As far as I’m concerned, it’ gone. Like most thoughts that arise anyways, they are banal, ridded with fears, insecurities and frankly quite boring.


Maybe amongst the reams of unreadable and incomprehensible sentences and paragraphs (at least for me), one can find an idea to share with the world. Start a blog. Show a friend. The world will be less richer without your ideas.


To write well, you should read well. Reading is like collecting the bricks that one will use to craft their own mental home.

Read with a pencil or pen in hand, and underline beautiful phrases, ideas and stories.

Or read simply to be transformed. ‘Lectio Divina’ as John Vervaeke recounts: reading to be transformed, rather than reading for ‘propositional knowledge’. Treating the text less as texts to be studied, but as the living word. A metamorphosis that you give yourself to; reading to enrich your soul.

Read aloud.

In reading aloud, one discovers a whole new world of detail previously glossed over. The way the words flow into the next, and the sentences change momentum reveal a wealth of detail which one can miss whilst reading in her own mind. The mellifluous lilting quality of certain sentences is brought to life colouring the air.

The world becomes richer when one reads aloud, discovering that the greater the quality of attention that is brought to an activity, the greater the depths of nuance and profundity that are revealed.

Read widely and follow your curiosity.

I’ve noticed that whatever one is consuming at the time (books, media, music) colours the lens through which one sees the world. You go around having ‘book shaped thoughts’ about whatever you read. The content colours your worldview and interactions. As Neil Gaiman espouses ‘consume good art.


Writing is an act of paying attention. Paint the blank page with care and find your world transformed.

Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than grey matter and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory

Jack London