Monday, September 7, 2020

Creativity, Relaxation and Transcendental Meditation

 

Creativity has something to do with relaxation. Somehow we get our best ideas when we are in a situation where there are no inhibitions, no worries, no limitations to the flight of our mind. That’s when the mind is fluid and free flowing and in this state good ideas seem to become more accessible. And we all know that a good idea is its own reward.

For many of us this may happen when we’re out in nature taking a walk, in the privacy of our bathrooms, in a library or study, hanging out with our friends etc. There seems to be no fixed rules about this yet the fact remains that in some situations we feel more creative more able to use our mental capacity than in others. What is also a fact is the more we chase or struggle after good ideas the less likely that they will come. Somehow trying too hard makes the mind tense and superficial. The very effort we make to be creative becomes the obstacle.

Whereas if we can just let our minds be, the mind opens up and lends itself to deeper exploration. The more we can let our mind be the more it lends itself to us. The more we struggle with it the more it rebels. Letting the mind ‘BE’ however is easier said than done.

Because letting the mind ‘BE’ would mean that we do less and less with it until the mind is so restful, so self-sufficient that it does not even entertain a thought. This state of just ‘BEING’ has been  known throughout the ages as the state of Yoga, the meditative state, Samadhi etc. and has been coveted by wise men all along as the fountainhead of creativity and intelligence within us. The source of our thoughts.

In this state the mind is effortlessly awake in its full potential beyond any limitation of thought, feeling or identification. Ironically the source of thought is a place where no thought is happening, where the mind is brimming with potential but not doing anything. How then do we access it and make it useful in our day to day lives. How do we maintain that abstract, relaxed, profound state of ‘BEING’ while we are in the midst of mundane activities of day to day life.

This will require us to incorporate a practice which allows us to expose ourselves to the experience of ‘BEING’ repeatedly on a day to day basis until it becomes familiar to us, becomes a habit, becomes second nature. It will require us to integrate two seemingly irreconcilable states, one is the abstract silent non active state of BEING the other is the ordinary, mundane everyday state of thought and action. This abstract state of ‘BEING’, a state of pure potentiality will find its purpose and fulfillment in the concrete arena of our day to day lives when its potential is utilised and realised.

To illustrate, lets take the example of a soccer match. It involves players and spectators. The player is the one who actually effects changes on the ground through his actions but can only see whats in front of him. His options are limited by his narrow vision. Whereas the spectator who is far removed from the game has a much broader vision of the game even though he is incapable of doing anything. He has many more ideas about what can be done as he is free from the pressures of being on the field.  If somehow the two can be brought together the player will gain the advantage of the broad vision of the spectator and the spectator will see his vision being translated into successful action bringing fulfillment to both.

The active mind is like the player and the abstract state of pure BEING is like the spectator. When the two are integrated and lived in one awareness then it has the potential to bring greater fulfilment on both levels. As individuals wanting to live more enriching fulfilling lives one is constantly nourished by the contact with the state of BEING within. And the BEING within enjoys when its true potential is realised through the actions of the individual.

The key to this phenomenon is in the ability of the individual mind to contact the state of ‘BEING’. This is where the easy, natural technique of Transcendental Meditation shines! Its a process whereby the mind is allowed to naturally settle into the state of BEING by systematically entertaining lesser and lesser mental activity. By Mental activity we mean thought. A thought begins deep within the mind as a faint idea and as it travels to the surface of the mind it assumes a more concrete form. We then appreciate the thought as a concrete thought on the surface of the mind and then make it further concrete in terms of speech and actions.

So speech and action is a concrete form of thought, thought in turn is a concrete form of an idea, an idea is a concrete form of a faint impulse deep within the mind and that faint impulse is an expression of a possibility among infinite other possibilities that exist in the state of BEING deep within the mind at the source of thought. Therefore the un-manifest BEING expresses itself as thought which eventually leads to concrete action.

During Transcendental Meditation we experience a thought on the gross level and then systematically experience it in its earlier and earlier stages of development until eventually we arrive at the source of thought, the state of BEING which is the living source of all of our mental activity. This journey from the outer gross level of thinking all the way to abstract un-manifest BEING happens most spontaneously and effortlessly as the mind enjoys every step of the way. The normally outward going mind is turned within during meditation and just like the mind wanders here and there ordinarily, during meditation it wanders inward without any effort on our part.

Thus our goal of reaching the creative essence of the mind is reached in a most natural manner. And as the mind settles down it experiences greater and greater relaxation and is therefore exposed to more fluid and unbounded aspects of the thought process. Then outside of meditation the mind spontaneously maintains some of that relaxed, expanded awareness in the midst of ordinary thought and activity. This phenomenon is reinforced with regular practice of experiencing the state of BEING and coming out and living that state of BEING in day to day life until we start maintaining that state spontaneously throughout the day.

Its therefore not surprising that research on Transcendental Meditation shows practitioners displaying greater creativity, spontaneity, better learning ability, better memory among a host of other benefits. It improves the overall use of our mental potential leading to more successful, fulfilled lives. This technique is a simple tool at our disposal for bringing greater fulfillment to our individual lives. The origins of this technique go back to the hoary past of India and belongs to the Vedic Tradition. It was made popular in the modern age by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who taught it as a systematic science of experience and development of consciousness. Millions of very successful people throughout the world practice this simple technique and many attribute their success to the long term practice of this meditation.

Jai Gurudev

Anand Ayyangar

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully explained. Very clear and well articulated. This is so true in every word of its narrative in my experience of TM. I want to be more consistent from now on, as I feel more inspired by this blog

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