Science, Meditation and Creativity
Q: You talked about our minds being fields that go beyond our bodies. But in science, fields interact in different ways; they can interact constructively or destructively. Would you talk about how our minds affect each other?
Sri Sri: It does; you know, emotions are more powerful than thoughts. That’s why you see in a group of children, if one child starts crying, every other child starts crying. If one child gets mad, the other children too get that. Haven’t we noticed this? You know school teachers know really well, these experiences. Similarly, supposedly in a room where a few people were arguing and fighting or angry at each other, and then they leave the room; when others just enter, for no reason, they start feeling those emotions – restlessness, anger, distress. So feel harmonious and let harmony spread also, catch us all. But it appears that anger catches much faster.
Q: This is sort of a paradox in my mind. Science is very objective and systematic. In a sense, it’s intentionally devoid of any subjectivity or any emotion. But there can be a real joy. See when scientists come up and talk about their work. They really get excited in it and really enjoying – even in one sense it’s cut and dry and free of any subjectivity. So there seems to be a paradox, this great desire to do things objectively and systematically, but a great joy in doing so. It seems to be a paradox in the mind that would attract the whole concept of science.
Sri Sri: Yes. A human life is a paradox. It’s a mixture of opposites. Emotions refine our attention, our awareness. There are certain emotions which can really define, that can take us very deep, and make our consciousness really sharp. Certainly other emotions, which we call negative can make us really thick and draw, insensitive. You know when someone is very quiet, their mind is very sharp, and very much able to observe better, the same mind when it’s disturbed, when there is sadness, is unable to listen completely.
So, different emotions have got different roles to play, in the awareness level of our system. Now, definitely science is logic and understanding; emotions are a barrier there. But for intuition and creativity, you need another set of emotions, refined emotions, which triggers those aspects in it. So I don’t see they are contrary to each other; though they are complementary, they are opposite in nature. Yet they are complementary to each other.
I would also like to say about the Indian astrology, one of the astronomies, one of the most very highly developed, but most ignored subject, the Vedic astrology. It was so many years ago, they discovered that Jupiter has twelve moons, thousands of years ago without any telescope or without any instrument. So there was perhaps some intuitive level of understanding – such exact calculations of how much it takes for Saturn to circle the Sun, all those things. It’s amazing. One thing is that we need more research in it. One more aspect is to say perhaps, there is always an amount of saying, this is so. Not saying this is like this is for all times.
Q: Mechanical people use a form of meditation called flow, particularly for writing software in which you are so in with the task, that you are dissociated from time and body, to a reasonable extent. The problem with flow is you get the enormous creativity, and you get the enormous volume, but it disassociates from quality. Do you know of anyone working on meditating creativity and quality as a relationship?
Sri Sri: I said it depends on the mind; see when mind is engaged in some activity, it gets tired. So any type of concentration or contemplation, or any activity in the mind that can be a drain to the system, so meditation I would say, is that which doesn’t drain you, but just gives you deep rest that we don’t get from any other activities, like seeing, listening, smelling, tasting and all these sensory activities. Almost like sleep, but not exactly sleep.
Q: At the end of flow, you tend to come out of it and apparently if you do it well you drop in that state for maybe ten seconds, you are then aware it’s two in the morning and haven’t eaten in fourteen hours. So you may get ten seconds of meditation out of fourteen hours of flow.
Sri Sri. That’s fine too. In ten seconds, in a few seconds of meditation you get quite a bit of energy.
Q: You really get an intense impression of being present, it’s very striking.
Sri Sri: Right.. right.. right… You know there are many types of meditations. Sciences of yoga, a 100, 120 types of mediations are there. I usually base it on the breath. With the breath you are able to silence the mind much quicker, and you can do it anytime anywhere, people from many religious backgrounds have no objection, because breath has no religion. No nationality.
Q: I first want to say thank you for being here. On the subject of creativity, do you expect a practitioner of your method to, after some time or under institutional auspices, be evaluated to see whether or not the practice is truly be quantitatively shown to enhance creativity?
Sri Sri: Yes. There are certain experiments, that are being done and some already done about the health aspects of Sudarshan Kriya; about how it reduces the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol in the system, how it’s helped in the reduction of the stress hormones all these things, on blood pressure effect. But on creativity, experiment is still going on, and what we have found in children is amazing. The youth who never had any talents to write poems, start writing poems, they start public speaking; and those very timid and scared in front of ten people, are able to speak to the entire class room and whole groups. Such confidence levels have increased in many, many people. And creativity in a sense, they come up with creative ideas in both schools and colleges; they have noticed it. But we have not done any study on scientists or any research links so far.
Q: How long should one meditate daily? Is there maybe too much meditation sometimes?
Sri Sri: You know our mechanism is like a system, in which after a while you automatically come out. Like sleep, you can’t sleep for fifteen hours a day. You sleep six hours, and at the end, when you have had enough rest you wake up. Similarly, there is a biological clock in us that brings us out, so you shouldn’t force yourself to go into mediation. So I would recommend twenty minutes, twenty-five minutes a day, should be good enough. You can do it two, three times, but no more than twice, short bits. You are doing twenty minutes, twice, thrice – it will do you good.