The Sublime Flow: A Reflection on Life and Creativity

Lately, I've found myself captivated by images of flowing water. These scenes have resurfaced in my thoughts, evoking memories from my youth when I would sit by a swiftly flowing river and watch my father swim. He would playfully hold me as I attempted my feeble "swimming" by splashing my arms and feet in the water.

As I grew older, I had the privilege of witnessing the majestic flow of the sacred Ganges. I encountered its currents not only near its source in the Himalayas but also at other significant locations like Haridwar, Prayagraj, Varanasi, and Kolkata. For over two decades, I have become accustomed to observing the gentle flow of the Charles River from my window throughout the year, except during winter when it is masked by a layer of ice. It's not just water that flows; even air "flows" in the form of blowing wind, moving from areas of higher to lower pressure.

This sense of flow extends beyond the external world and permeates within me. Blood courses through the veins and arteries of my body, carrying life's vital essence. Sensations transmitted through my nervous system create a distinct inner flow. Memories of the past and thoughts about the future traverse the recesses of my mind like a continuous stream.

Life itself can be likened to a flow. Time flows as I age, with days, months, and years passing by relentlessly. It feels as though I am being carried along with the current. At times, I yearn to stand still, to cease moving, and simply observe the flow. Yet, being still is arduous, while flowing with the current appears effortless. The practice of "being the witness" involves remaining still and resisting the pull of life's flow.

Both the body and the mind are integral parts of this flow. None of us can halt their relentless march. Must I surrender myself to wherever the body and mind lead me? If I leave myself at their mercy, the inevitable outcome can only be death and decay—a fate shared by all material things, beginning with composition and culminating in decomposition. The only means to stop and assert my independence is to consciously detach myself from the body and the mind.

When I no longer identify with the body and the mind, I become aware of what I have always been but seldom remember—my true self, the ātman. Ironically, it is easier to become someone else than to be my authentic self. What is easy, however, is often not worth having. What is worth having is rarely easy, but it is not impossible either.

Detaching oneself from the body and the mind is easier said than done. The surging creative impulse within me resists such detachment. I am not privileged enough to halt the mad rush, become a witness, and create space to observe my body and mind being carried away by the flow of life. I cannot stop the creative force flowing within me, but I can channel it according to my own desires.

Each of us possesses the power to direct our creative energies. Nature largely accomplishes this at the biological level, ensuring the perpetuation of species. However, creativity extends beyond biology. The mind and intellect contribute far more to creation than the body alone. Creative juices flow within every individual, seeking diverse outlets.

Artists utilize creative force to produce their masterpieces, whether it be a musical composition, a sculpture, a painting, a film, or a play. Writers express their creativity through books and essays. Intellectuals employ their creative force to inspire new ways of thinking, facilitating the reimagination of the past, present, and future. Architects channel creativity into innovative structural designs, and engineers execute their tasks using imaginative approaches. Scientists

 manifest their creativity through inventions, while explorers uncover new horizons through their discoveries. Spiritual seekers harness the creative force as an instrument to attain their spiritual objectives. Each of us can unlock our creative potential in whatever we do, approaching it with a fresh mind, as if it were our first time.

As the creative force flows for a while, it matures and softens. This mellowness makes it easier to redirect this force back to its source—God, the divine origin from which everything emerges, in whom everything resides, and to whom everything ultimately returns. Meditation serves as a means to reverse the flow of creativity back to the source of creation. It requires effort to overcome the obstacles along the way, for swimming upstream is more challenging than swimming downstream.

If the unconscious flow toward the perishable world is fueled by worldly desires, the conscious flow toward the imperishable is powered by an indomitable human will that refuses to surrender despite all odds. When purity, perseverance, and determination combine with the yearning to uncover the ultimate truth, the battle reaches a tipping point. It is at this juncture—though precisely when, how, or even why remains unknown—that another force, stronger than anything we have ever imagined, takes over. It doesn't arise from anything we have previously known, hence we refer to it as divine grace. When grace descends, barriers dissolve, and the flow becomes uninterrupted, like oil pouring effortlessly from one vessel into another. The river merges back into the ocean. The river is no more; only the ocean remains.

Only the ocean is. Disregard the image of water and cease contemplating the waves. The "ocean" in this context serves as a metaphor for the one, boundless, undivided, immovable, and unchanging reality. The flow has ceased. There is nothing left to do, for everything has been accomplished. There is nowhere to go, for I am everywhere. There is no one to meet, for I am everyone. I eternally become, I eternally am, I will eternally be.

Source: Vedanta Society Books, Wikipedia


Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form