Monday, September 01, 2014

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Reflective Writing and the Experience of Transcending
All writing, of course, comes from consciousness. Any ideas, thoughts, or feelings we have spring from our own consciousness. Mind is the entity that we generally give credit to for our ideas, mind usually considered some construct of the human brain that does our thinking for us. This perception of how we write leaves out, to some extent, the feeling level as well as the role that memory plays in our process of writing. The cognitive sciences can map certain stages of the thinking of writing process for us, but do not yet provide the whole picture. I feel a fuller understanding of what occurs when we write is provided by a Consciousness-basedâ„ , approach to writing .[1] With a Consciousness-Based approach, writers not only gain an understanding of the dynamics of consciousness but also experience those dynamics for themselves through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® program.

With a Consciousness-Based approach, we learn to trust our inner experience. The experience of transcending during practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique helps us as writers learn to trust that turning the awareness inward can have a positive and beneficial effect. That effortless practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique allows us to experience finer and finer levels of thought until we arrive at the source of thought, pure consciousness. With the daily practice of this technology, we become familiar with subtler levels of thoughts and, ultimately, the source of thought. Consequently, when we sit to write, the act of turning inward to reflect on any topic feels familiar to us.

The familiarity with the inward direction of the mind helps us (as writers) learn to trust our own minds. For example, we learn to trust that another thought will always be emerging from deeper levels, so writer’s block is less likely to occur. This trust does not mean we can assume that each sentence will emerge in its final, polished form. Polishing is still nearly always necessary and sometimes much polishing is quite necessary.

Writing a paper or a poem or a post, however, no longer has to seem like something we do outside of ourselves. The process feels natural and is a part of who we are. When we practice reflective writing, we have the intention to allow and welcome feelings and memories that emerge. Those feelings and memories are part and parcel of our whole field of thought, pure consciousness.

Writing courses, I believe, demonstrate the connection between writing and consciousness in a very direct way. The prewriting strategies that emerged in the 1980s, including freewriting, offer writers a natural way of turning inward when we start to write–without carrying the burden of the assignment that is expected of us. We can simply consider a topic or prompt and see what emerges from the source of thought. This natural process of allowing ideas to flow without initially judging the ideas can open the gateway to creativity.

I don’t want to carry this parallel too far. Writing and transcending are not, finally, exactly the same process. Writing, by necessity for producing a text, stays at the more expressed levels of thought. Transcending, on the other hand, by allowing one to experience subtler and subtler levels of thought, ultimately goes beyond thought to the sources of thought, pure consciousness. Transcending is preparation for writing and pure consciousness is the foundation of both processes.

Next week: Reflecting on Reflection


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[1] Consciousness-based education, developed by the Vedic sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi underlies the entire curriculum at Maharishi University of Management (MUM). The goal of this Consciousness-Based approach is to provide an understanding of consciousness that embraces all aspects of human experience. Through Maharishi's Science and Technologies of Consciousness, students discover the field of pure consciousness within themselves as the source of all knowledge. As students optimize their full potential with daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation programs, they also study the academic disciplines in the light of their own understanding of intelligence and consciousness. Each class they take allows them to make the connections between consciousness and the discipline studied in the class.

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