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Morning Pages vs. Meditation: a powerful insight I recently discovered on the big difference between them

By December 10, 2015 5 Comments

Back in 2009, I was given a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and urged to go through the 12 week course.

So, I started.

In the first week Julia introduces Morning Pages – three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.

At first I thought it sounded a little silly, but her insistence and success stories convinced me to give it a try. (Besides, I had committed myself to doing it)

What I didn’t understand at first is that the Morning Pages are like a whisk broom that goes into all the corners of your consciousness and sweeps them clean.

They saved my sanity turning my divorce, walked with me through my deep raw food transformation + spiritual journey and helped me dig deep to understand and work through the emotions that were trying to come to the surface to heal.

During my spiritual journey, I discovered the power of meditation and explored it as well.

This past year for me I went deeper into my meditation practice, striving for true balance and achieving much of it. In the process I did not do my Morning Pages as consistently as I knew I should. But, I didn’t know which one should really come first. Meditation or Morning Pages? Both seemed equally as important. Do I do one or the other or both?

I missed my Morning Pages, so I meditated on it. I wanted to go deeper into my spirit and communicate with my inner wisdom more clearly and effectively. Through this the inner wisdom told the best way for me to connect was to write.

I got out my pen and paper and did just that.

Through the pages, I decided that since Julia Cameron had made such an impact on me with The Artist’s Way that I wanted to dive into her other books and really pay attention to them in 2016.

I started with picking up her short ebook on The Miracle of Morning Pages where she answers years of questions that had been asked of her about Morning Pages and dove deeper into what they were and what they really meant.

Then I came across these two passages and everything made sense:

“Morning Pages are about action. Unlike conventional meditation, which may lull you out of taking action, the pages magnify our discontent, pointing out actions we could take. The pages tend to point out our many choice points. We are egged on to increase honesty and candor. Our lives become our own. We no longer sell ourselves out, giving our time and energy to others’ agenda. We have a choice whether to invest in other or ourselves. Investing in ourselves is novel for many of us.”

When it comes to which one to do first, according to Julia Cameron… “Pages should come first. They tell you your concerns and point you towards actions you can take. Meditation by contrast, tends to talk you out of action. If you have a problem, you take it into Morning Pages, you will be given a sense of a possible next step. If you take the same problem into meditation, you may find yourself so spiritually “high” that no action seems necessary.”

This was a lightbulb moment for me!

Morning Pages = Action

Meditation = Balance

Both are important and both are needed as we strive to ever improve our lives, reaching higher and higher into what we are put here on this earth to do in this lifetime.

So, for me I have now moved Morning Pages as the first thing I do every day as part of my daily routine. It’s back as part of my solid foundation for checking in and building up a stronger drive and direction on where I am going and what I want to accomplish. I am even happier because of it.

Meditation has moved to the evening so that I am able to integrate my day and balance it all out. This also helps with having a tremendous night’s sleep.

Morning Pages have also been referred to as an active meditation, so for me, this combination works wonders and I feel I am getting the best of both worlds packed into one day.

Have you ever done Morning Pages or Meditation? How do you incorporate them into your daily life?




  • Michele says:

    I am floored that I found this article from you on the very day that I was asking the very same question you pose, Natalie!! For years I have been writing my Morning Pages and yet not going deeper, not utilizing them as you describe in your article and that Julia so clearly writes in her book, The Artist’s Way. I litterly call them my ‘brain dump” and then treat them in like manner, never going to them to form actions for my day. I rarely do anything with them except put them in a binder and maybe destroy them by fire usually at an end of the year interval. I see that I need to use these two life-giving tools in concert to help balance out as well as for actions for my days. Sharing your adventure with these tremendous tools of Morning Pages and meditation evening helps me a bunch! Thanks, Natalie!

  • Ads says:

    Natalie, Thankyou!!! This is exactly what I needed. I first did morning pages for a short while back in the 90’s it collided with an extremely creative period. I then meditated consistently after that for the next 9 years, but still managed to get stagnant and stuck. Meditation made me feel great, but it did not force me to take the action that was needed to resolve the issues that i needed to deal with in my life. Needless to say I have recently started back on the MPs and Boom! The ideas are coming thick and fast. One needs both I believe. One to navigate the world, the other to deal with it.

    As an aside, never underestimate the power of a post to meaningfully impact another’s life. Thank you again.

  • Thank You Natalie,

    This confirms and corrects a great deal of confusion for me. I can certainly recall the benefit of doing Morning Pages and Meditation, however, sometimes the indecision about which to do first yielded in my doing nothing. Thank You So Very Much for this important and freeing insight.

    Best Wishes with Many Thanks!

    Marilyn Johnson,ND

  • Sasha says:

    Thank you Natalie for the article! I love your simile of the whisk broom. Yes, I have written morning pages back in 2005 for two years, three pages a day and then I quit. I thought they weren’t allowing me to be creative enough. It seemed as though I was just spilling out my worries and day to day events. I tore up all of my writings and got rid of it. I had had enough. It was about a year and a half ago that I started to meditate. Hardcore meditation, where I sit facing a white wall and focus on my breath for 30mins every day. I thought this would allow for more creativity in my life. Well, who knows? I have been creative since I began meditation. Now what of those morning pages? Well, something in me is urging me to write those seeming non-creative morning pages again. I can’t seem to help myself. I now try to incorporate a bit of the innovative when I write, for instance, thoughts of a creative writing exercise or a new word from the dictionary. I also enjoy writing somewhere on the page my location, just a thing. I do get, since forgetting, that the morning pages are like that whisk broom you mentioned. I do both meditation and, now, the writing at any time during the day. Thank you so much for your words Natalie. I was searching to discover if the morning pages were like a meditation when I came across your article.

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