How to Release Your Creativity with Mindfulness
What is creativity? Where does creativity come from and how can mindfulness help you access it? How can you become happier and more creative? Good questions! The act of creativity is a deep mystery. If creativity is a mechanical process in which you do such and such, it ceases to have its intrinsic uniqueness.
Creativity is a beautifully magic process that seems to be a natural part of the Universe. By using ways to calm your mind, you find the creative process naturally unfolds itself, which increases your happiness.
Explore creativity with mindfulness
Play is an important aspect of creativity. If you’re willing to play and have fun, creativity is sure to follow. When you play, you engage the more creative right side of the brain. You let go of the usual rules. If you stick to the normal rules, you can’t come up with something new. The new is born from transforming the way you see things.
Let’s say for example, you’re trying to think of something different to do with the family for a weekend. Here’s one way to get the creative juices flowing:
Write down what you want to achieve.
For example, maybe you’re looking for an exciting weekend getaway with the whole family, to cheer everyone up and have fun together.
Let go of the problem.
Allow the mind to slow down and connect with the breath for five minutes or more.
Write down several things you’ve done before at weekends for fun.
For example, staying over at your sister’s place, going to the nearest beach, staying over at your friend’s house, going to local museums, playing different sports.
Change your perspective.
Imagine you’re very rich or you don’t have a family or you live in a forest. What would you do then? For example, if you were very wealthy you might fly to a bigger city for the weekend, if you didn’t have children you might book a romantic weekend getaway, if you lived in the forest, you might start building a tree house.
Now see what ideas can be used from that.
For example, you can travel by train or budget airline to a relatively cheap hotel in a city you haven’t been before, you can ask your neighbors if you can stay at their country home for the weekend, or you can find a hotel that caters for children while you spend some quality time with your partner.
To be highly creative, you need to calm the mind. Many research papers show that a calm and relaxed mind is more creative than an anxious and stressed one. When you’re calm, your thoughts aren’t firing off too often, so you have space for creative ideas to rise to the surface. Mindfulness gives space for the mind to become calm and at the same time raises your level of awareness.
Keep your mind engaged in the moment, and ideas naturally arise. Imagine you’re trying to remember where you left your keys, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t recall where they are. Then you forget about it, and whoosh – the location shoots into your head.
If you haven’t seen this illusion before, you probably see random dots. Try feeling your breath, becoming aware of the feelings and sensations in your body, and then look again in a more relaxed way. As best you can, let go of any frustrations or desires. Spend a few minutes doing this. Look at the image just as it is. Has it changed? Be patient and see what unfolds.
Are you ready? It’s a Dalmatian. If you still can’t see the dog, what can you do? You can ask someone else, come back to it later, or try looking at different angles – in other words, you look for creative alternative ideas.
Create conditions for originality with mindfulness
Here are a few ways of creating the right conditions for mindfully allowing originality to arise:
Eliminate any potential distractions if possible.
This helps you to calm your mind a little, making creative thought more likely.
Find a space where you’re sufficiently warm and comfortable.
If you can, loosen any tight clothing. If your body is happy, your mind will be happy, and a happy mind is a creative mind.
Become aware of each in-breath and each out-breath, as best you can.
Awareness of the breath is a powerful way of immediately centering yourself, bringing you to the here and now.
Become aware of thoughts as they arise and pass like clouds in the sky.
By seeing thoughts like clouds, you stop holding on to them, and clear out the old ideas to make way for the new ideas.
Notice the gap or space between thoughts.
Creative ideas come from a place of silence and calm, which is always available to you between thoughts. Noticing the gap tunes you into a more creative state.
Continue for at least ten minutes, and more if you can.
You need to give yourself time to tune into this creative space. When you feel you’ve finished, come out of the meditation slowly and see what new ideas spring up.
Through this exercise you begin to allow your inner creative space to fill with fresh, new ideas. You’re clearing out the old, limiting ideas to make space for the brand new ones. Feel free to interrupt the meditation any time to write your ideas down, as this isn’t a formal meditation practice but a creativity exercise – allow yourself to have fun with it and experiment.