Semi-automatic Writing: Taking Notes for the Inner Voice

"By words the mind is winged."

"When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was."
The Gospel According to John

In a previous meditation called "Notice Your Focus," we encouraged you to become more aware of your sensations, awarenesses and thoughts by writing or typing them as they arose in your consciousness. If you haven’t done that exercise, you might want to try it before progressing to this one.

Sometimes the human mind can be like a drippy faucet. You can’t shut it off no matter how hard you twist it. However, if you want it to be quiet you can loosen it up and increase the flow. If you put your mind in a relaxed, loose and flowing state, you may find that the stream of thoughts is drawn from a deep well of consciousness.

Meditative writing can help you tune in to the inner voice of wisdom that is always available, but often unheard. Some people discover the gift of automatic writing where the words seem to pour out through the writing instrument as if the person had turned over control to another mind. We are suggesting, though, that you try your hand at semi-automatic writing. You don’t need to completely relinquish control of your thoughts, you just relax into them. You don’t cut yourself off from your train of consciousness, you just listen and write what you hear.

A word of caution. Some people may encounter a wall of disturbing thoughts between their normal state of mind and a place of deeper awareness. This may be particularly true for people who have suffered emotional trauma or who have some form of mental infirmity. If the thoughts you encounter are too troubling, stop the exercise. Use your judgment. This may or may not be an exercise for you. Counseling may be a better way to work with the unconscious when the emotional wounds are too deep.


Sit with your favorite writing instrument, whether that be a pen and paper or your computer word processor. Start with a blank writing space.  Pause for a while. Let yourself relax. Release your worries. Release your plans. Just be there with your writing tools without expectation. Allow calmness to descend upon you. Notice any muscle tension you might have, and let go of it. Invite your muscles to relax. Sit upright in a balanced posture that is comfortable for writing. Let your eyes relax. If you can write or type without looking at the words, do that.

Imagine that the space around you is filled with pure white light. The light is love. Feel the safety of love. You are safe here. You invite love and light into your heart. You seek the wisdom of your loving heart. You have found a space to be at peace. You invite peace into your heart. You invite peace into your mind. You allow your mind to calm itself. You release yourself from directing the train of your thoughts.

Now sit with an open mind. Quietly anticipate the words that are about to come to you. Don’t try to think. Just listen. Listen for a word or phrase that comes from your inner voice. When you "hear" a word, write it down. Don’t try to think what the next word will be or should be, just wait for it to come. See what you get.

Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. If punctuation happens, let it happen. If it doesn’t, don’t interrupt the process to put it in. Try not to judge the content of your output while you are writing. Just let it come. Resist thinking about what the next word should be. Just see what comes up.

If you get stuck, it’s all right to read over the last line or two to get your mind back to the last frame. Then wait again for the inner voice to resume its dictation.

After you have finished writing, read the words over. You may find meaning that was not obvious while you were writing. At first, you may find the words don’t seem to make any sense. They may come somewhat randomly. Be patient. Give this some time. You may need to practice this technique a number of times to get into the flow. Once you tap into the current of your quiet mind, you may be surprised at the creativity and wisdom you find there.

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© 1999-2003 Tom Barrett