creative samadhi


Many moons ago, I did a 200 hour yoga teacher training at a yoga studio in NYC. I had been practicing yoga for about three years at that point and was ready to deepen my practice. I fell in love with this studio right away. It was two blocks from my job so getting there was easy, and I was there as often as I could be. The walls were painted in the most vibrant colors, and every corner of the space exuded pure joy. I walked in with a broken heart and walked out with an open heart. This studio had healed me.

So, with a lot of gratitude, I decided to dive headfirst into this training, committing to several months of weekends at the studio. As students, we were given many assignments that were beyond the physical practice of yoga. One such task was to memorize (and chant) a mantra all about samadhi. I wish I could remember the exact mantra, but unfortunately, all I remember is how hard it was to wrap my head around the concept of samadhi.

Defined as “the highest stage in meditation, in which a person experiences oneness with the universe,” samadhi seemed completely out of reach to me. Samadhi is the endpoint, the ultimate, the goal, the union, the big finish. How on earth was I going to get close enough to understand it? At that point in my life, I probably wasn’t going to get close enough, but I could still be curious.

I reached out to one of my teachers and asked her to tell me more about samadhi, what it is, and how to get there. Her answer surprised me. To her, samadhi was teaching. From the moment she chanted the first om to the final savasana, she was in a state of pure samadhi. As a very fortunate student of hers, I completely understood her answer. She was a very gifted teacher and had to enter another state of being to deliver the classes she was teaching —  classes where her students felt inspired, open, and fearless.

To this day, I continue to reflect on her answer and realize that samadhi must not be that far off from being in a state of creative flow. In this state, time does not matter, fear does not exist, there is a feeling of fluidity and motion. You are a creator and you are in the zone.

As you can guess, this is also not an easy state to achieve. Like meditating to the point of samadhi, or deepening your physical asana practice, it requires commitment. I hesitate to use the word effort, but I think practice and repeated action are key. My teacher was teaching in a state of samadhi because she was very experienced and had put in a lot of time, both in her own practice and in the practice of teaching others.

Is there such a thing as creative samadhi? I think there might be. To me, combining the concept of creative flow and samadhi is not only finding a rhythm in your work, but finding a union between your work and your self. It’s more than doing something well, it’s about doing your life’s work.

Something big to think about and reach for, right? Remember, I’m on the journey with you.

Some further reading:
The Hidden Art of Achieving Creative Flow via zenhabits
Samadhi: The Height of Divine Consciousness via Sri Chimnoy
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Beautiful meditation photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn

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