Sitting quietly, doing nothing, what a waste of valuable time, right? You could be on the computer or cell phone talking with friends, or doing something really productive or fun. Why sit quietly?

In life, two things separate successful people from ordinary people: creativity and energy. People with no college degrees or credentials whatsoever have made it to the highest ranks of corporate America, and if you look carefully at their attributes, you will find energy and creativity standing out head and shoulders above anything that they have learned in the past. Creativity enables them to see everything anew and therefore not become bogged down in in old concepts and stale solutions.

Simon Cowell began his career in a music publishing company mailroom. Mary Kay Ash,, with no college training, started a cosmetics business called Mary Kay Inc. Michael Dell, at 19 years old, began what was to become Dell, Inc. Walt Disney dropped put of school at 16. Henry ford became an apprentice machinist at 16. Bill Gates, the world's richest man for 11 years in a row was a college drop out. Steve Jobs attended one semester of college, later co-founding Apple Computers. And finally, Frank Lloyd Wright, who never attended high school, became the most influential architect of the twentieth century.

But if you don't have the creativity and energy of these people, then it's best to get your degree because that is all you will have to back yourself up for your entire life. You cannot learn how to get the energy and creativity of these people; it's not in the textbooks. Just as a natural athlete instinctively knows how to run and perform, and with little or no coaching becomes great, a person without natural athletic ability will never make it to those heights regardless of the best training and coaching.

There is a little known secret, however, regarding creativity and energy and how they can be attained even if you are not born with them, and it‘s called meditation. A person with little imaginative capabilities and low vigor can transform themselves into being creative and energetic, and a person who is already energetic and creative can become extremely creative and highly energetic. All it takes is an understanding of how meditation works, which is not the way in which academics works. Academics is a process of adding to you knowledge base, while meditation is a process of letting go, and believe it or not, it's this letting go that instills creativity and energy.

Since early in life we trained in academia by adding to our knowledge base, and therefore meditation can appear to be a waste of time. But really, meditation is the only process that you can do proactively to make fundamental changes in your life. While academia makes surface changes, providing the tools, such as knowledge, to pass tests and handle everyday life, meditation instills fundamental shifts in your basic being that takes it a level above basic tools such as knowledge, by injecting into that knowledge direct, clear, vision and seeing. A person of knowledge may learn all there is to learn about horses and how to use them in the fields and to pull buggies, where a person of insight might envision the automobile, and with instinctive energy and creativity, go about producing one.

Meditation begins when you sit down quietly, and instead of thinking about anything for the time that you are meditating, you let go completely of the outside world as well as any thoughts about the inside, spiritual world. This is not prayer time where we converse internally with God or Jesus, or think about heaven; this is absolute quiet time for the mind.

We learn in meditation how to let go. A memory comes up - we let go of it as soon as we wake up and see that we are supposed to be meditating and instead have slipped into memories. If a future thought comes up, we let go as soon as we realize that we are caught in speculation instead of meditating. Whatever comes up; "My leg hurts," "I forgot to call the bank." "What time is it?" - we let go of it - during our meditation.

When we practice just a few minutes once a day to begin with, maybe just before retiring, and learn to let go, quiet gaps will form between the many thoughts that now jam our heads. As those still moments between thoughts increase, the mind becomes delightfully still and relaxed for awhile, maybe for the first time in our lives. And as those moments of delightful stillness increase, we have the beginnings of creativity and energy.

If you would like to learn more about this entire process and how it deepens, visit our DhammaRocksprings website and click on the tab " Dhamma Talk and Forum."

Author's Bio: 

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of A Year to Enlightenment. His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk. He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.