Let’s face it. As a species we are in trouble. Nations are at war. Violence continues. Our economic system is failing. People are feeling anxious, depressed, and alone. The very planet we live on is crying out.
Yet, there is always something you can do. In any moment, no matter where you are and who you are with, you can stop the world for a moment. Take a deep breath and go within. In an unprecedented time of destruction, change and renewal, we need practices that can support our well-being. More importantly, we need a spiritual practice that can connect us to a greater power within and facilitate a shift in consciousness.
“No problem can be solved,” said Einstein, “from the same level of consciousness that created it.” There is only one spiritual practice I know of that can lead to a higher level of consciousness. It’s the practice of going within. There are no scriptures to read, no dogma to follow, no time of the day to bow down in devotion. There’s only making the great turn of attention. You see, when you bring the light of your awareness inward, the mind will begin to change. When the warmth and energy of attention - like a great sun - shines inward on a regular basis, boundaries dissolve, life emerges, and awakening happens.
Yet, there’s a certain kind of attention that almost all transformational and consciousness-shifting practices require: nonjudgmental awareness. It’s the ability to be with and observe the inner experience as it is taking place without judgment. Generally, the mind is like explosives, highly reactive and frequently triggered by inner and outer stimulus. In fact, the reactivity of the mind is incessant and deeply conditioned by past experiences. Yet, observing the mind creates a sense of spaciousness - a small distance between the trigger and the mind‘s usual reaction. It‘s a way of slowing down, or you might say, stopping the world.
Observing the mind without judgment on a regular basis can provide a gradual disentanglement of deeply rooted psychological knots. This practice alone can create a shift in consciousness.
But what does all this have to do with getting help for the global problems we are facing? Well, interestingly, when the mind slows down, when there’s less reactivity and more spaciousness, something magical happens. From stillness of mind, a subtle intelligence emerges; a type of wisdom beyond thought unfolds. Namely, the energy and intelligence that emerges out of a soft and slow mind is the same wisdom that knows how to grow trees out of seeds, create humans out of embryos, and circle planets around the sun. By observing the mind and slowing down those rapid and reactive mental patterns, the voice of Nature or God can emerge. In this way, you connect with a greater, wiser Source. More importantly, you can become receptive to possible global solutions and discover your unique role in serving the world.
The spiritual practice that combines both quieting the mind for less reactivity and opening the mind for Nature’s wisdom is called Creation Meditation. It is the combined practice of silent, sitting mediation and deep writing. With silent meditation, slow the mind and stop the world. Then, with free writing, see what that deeper intelligence inside you has to say. Whatever is moving through you, allow the creative force to freely emerge. Over time, this practice not only opens you to wisdom- the intelligence that is guiding your unique life – it can also bring healing, integration, and spiritual awakening.
Creation Meditation is a necessary practice for our time in history. It’s an old saying, but it’s still true: If we are going to change the world, we start by changing ourselves.
Adriana Attento, MA is an advocate for developing a spiritual practice of creativity. She has a Master’s degree in Depth Psychology and is the author of A Holy Nothingness: Writing Towards God. Join Adriana and others in Hawaii in March 2013! Your 5-day retreat includes a contemplative practice of meditation, deep writing to access the wisdom within, lodging near the active and flowing Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, a day trip to Waipio Valley, and a full moon closing ceremony. For more information: www.CreationMeditation.com/HawaiiRetreat