Most of us have techniques for increasing productivity, overcoming creative blocks or just coming up with more awesome ideas. Some incredibly creative and innovative people swear by meditation as their tool of choice. The list of famous meditators includes names like Steve Jobs, David Lynch, George Lucas and Albert Einstein. Today’s guest post is by Dr Ian Gawler, one of Australia’s most experienced and respected authorities on Mind-Body Medicine and meditation. He has also produced an online, meditation based mind training program called Mindbody Mastery. Here he offers his thoughts on how meditation can enhance creativity.
Jackson Pollock was the archetypal boozing, tortured artist. Would he have painted anything worthwhile if he had found inner peace? Might he have been an even better painter? Would Apple even have come into existence if he Steve Jobs had not meditated? If, as Spike Milligan said “it is all in the mind”, can meditation really enhance creativity?
So often good ideas, insights, creativity, get hijacked, diluted, destroyed by the events of ordinary daily life. Trauma from the past, fear for the future and the pressures of modern living all conspire to overwhelm creativity. As the mind settles and becomes less agitated, there comes a certain freshness and a capacity to bring a new perspective to the commonplace. Meditation can foster curiosity, awe and wonderment. For creativity to advance from being a good idea to a manifest work, we need concentration and grounded application.
Leave a glass of muddy water undisturbed; the mud settles and we are left with clear water. The mind is the same. Left undisturbed, it becomes calm and clear. Then comes the capacity to recognize simplicity amongst complexity. For Jobs, this clarity of thinking led to Apple’s elegant, functional design.
Meditation teaches us to let go of unhelpful concerns for past and future and to function more joyfully in the present. For true creativity, we need to go beyond the realm of the intellect. Not to become irrational, but non-rational; and to access that deeper, more profound inner world of wisdom and creativity. Training the mind through meditation is like going to the gym to develop physical muscles. Going inwards, we develop the inner strength to things get done.
Rock your Soul by Sirenized
There are many ways to meditate. A simple approach is to break it down into 4 easy steps.
1. Preparation: This is about organizing 10 – 20 minutes once or twice a day, finding a suitable place, taking up a symmetrical, balanced posture, settling into that posture and turning your mind inwardly - away from day to day events.
2. Relaxation: Then we learn to relax the body and calm the mind. This is easily achieved by focusing the mind and concentrating on the feeling as we relax the body. Doing this frees us from the physical tension so often associated with stress, allows our body’s biochemistry to regain its natural, healthy balance and settles “the mud” in our mind.
3. Mindfulness: As we relax more, we naturally become more aware. This leads to mindfulness, where almost like an impartial observer, we can be aware of the sounds around about us, the thoughts and feelings within us, and remain undistracted and unperturbed. Calm and clear.
4. Stillness: As we progress, we notice a deeper stillness. At first a glimpse, then a deeper experience of the truth and essence of who we really are, what is in our heart’s essence.
The biggest challenge with meditation is to actually do it! Happy meditating and may the creativity be with you.
~ Ian Gawler
Above the clouds by NicNilla
“People say you’ve got to have an anger, you’ve got to have an edge to create. You’ve got to know about anger … you’ve got to have energy, you’ve got to have clarity to create. You’ve got to be able to catch ideas.”