Mindfulness & creativity part 1.
Mindfulness & creativity part 1.
Reaching beyond the scope of simple relaxation.
Meditation and mindfulness appears in many forms originating from various cultures around the world including Buddhism, Vendatism, Taoism, and Zen. All of which employ the mental practice of connecting to the present moment in order to attain a more focussed state of being. The common results of a sustained meditation practice often include an increased sense of wellbeing, relaxation, and fulfillment. But the benefits don’t end there.
It’s well documented that regular practitioners of meditation experience additional benefits reaching far beyond the scope of simple relaxation and inner peace. Increased energy, prolonged focus, enhanced mental agility, and, yes, a significant boost in creativity. The question is how does that work? And how can we apply those learnings practically to the everyday challenges facing creatives?
Is there a science behind the spark of every new idea? And if so, how can we apply those learnings.
To answer those questions we must first understand creativity and what lies behind the genesis of an idea. A recognised model on the subject breaks the process down into four essential phases. Preparation, incubation, illumination, and validation.
Is the gathering and learning stage. Feeding our brains with new and relevant information which is essential to the creative task at hand. Reading, looking, and listening.
Works exactly as it sounds. New information is now digested and left to organise itself organically into what will become the foundations of your shiny new idea.
Is the exciting bit! The spark. The lightbulb. The ‘eureka’ moment of pure inspiration when a fresh concept appears from nowhere in your head and changes everything in an instant. Best feeling ever!
Occurs after the lightning strike. You have your idea but is it fit for purpose? In the final stage creatives apply critical thinking to their new concept, off the back of which concepts can be used, adjusted, or (as painful as it sometimes is) discarded.
Hang on a minute though. How does all this relate back to meditation? And how can connecting to the present moment and becoming focussed boost the creative process? The answer can be boiled down to one core dynamic on the whole. Divergent thinking. This kind of thought is a free-flowing exploration of potential solutions. It’s that lucid period of ideation which paves the way toward cross-pollination. Two dots inside your mind connect for the first time. Ding! And it’s here where meditation really comes into play.
By practicing mindfulness techniques prior to, or during, the creative process, your mind will begin working with an increased fluidity.
By practicing mindfulness techniques prior to, or during, the creative process, your mind will begin working with an increased fluidity, creating all kinds of connections and relationships which may otherwise not have occured. It’s essentially a better quality of brain activity with improved clarity and awareness. It’s like fuel to the creative flame. Become focussed enough, and you might find yourself with an inspirational inferno on your hands!
Okay, okay. All that might be a little much, but the facts are clear. Practicing mindfulness enhances creative capacity and allows you to recognise good ideas when you have them. That’s inspiration on tap! Something we could all use a little of.
But here’s the next question: how do we apply meditation effectively and integrate a regular practice into our busy lives?
Find out soon when we take a practical dive into various mindfulness techniques.
Author: Matt Eeles