Creativity and Meditation

What are the processes in the mind that foster fresh ideas? How can we foster our own creativity through meditation?

Meditation as a catalyst for creativity

Creativity is not only relevant in the realm of artistic expression. What especially interests us in Imagine Clarity is the spark of transformative freshness, an openness to new possibilities and an ability to appreciate the potential in all kinds of situations. We hope that the following reflections and topics may give you some insights!
Matthieu Ricard focuses in the Meditation and Creativity on the role of meditation in the creative process. Recent studies in neuroscience show that creativity comes not from a highly focused but from a very open state of mind, available and flexible enough so that new ideas, insights, and inspirations may arise. Matthieu suggests that meditation, where we remain in a state of "open presence", can be a catalyst for spontaneous inspiration to emerge. 
"... the state of clear openness and simplicity of the mind will favor this new burst of creative insight... "

—Matthieu Ricard
The expression "open presence" has been generally used rather loosely to describe various meditation types. The mind is simply aware and present, without fixing on an object. You can find a practical introduction to this type of practice in the beginner-friendly Stability and Clarity course, especially in the session A Simple Presence

Under-moving thoughts

Although our undercurrents of thoughts,  known as "under-moving thoughts" in the Tibetan meditative tradition, are usually largely unnoticed, it is possible to be mindful of the free flow of spontaneous thoughts without blocking them, bringing the experiential focus to bear in an awareness of the events of the narrative focus. Especially in the advanced Observing the Mind course, you find methods of being aware of the space of the mind and undercurrents of thoughts and mental events:
"We may liken the space of the mind to a stage, to a playhouse, in which actors come and go… Focus especially on the actors who appear on the stage of the mind, perform their roles, and then vanish back into the space. Attend distinct mental events of thoughts and images, memories and fantasies, emotions and desires. Simply observe the events as they arise. Always fresh, always unprecedented."

—Alan Wallace

Flow and presence

In Flow and Presence, Maria João Pires, widely considered one of the best interpreters of Mozart and Beethoven, explores the sources of artistic creativity. Her focus is especially on the relationship between the mind and the body, inside and outside. She also insists on the importance of connecting the mind and the body in mindful walking.
Are you playing or is the music playing you? I think it is more that the music is playing you, if you allow it. And then if you allow it, everything is easy.

—Maria João Pires

The mind and its potential

What can we learn from Imagine Clarity's authors who have actualized a creative flow in their lives? We are not all creative geniuses or expert meditators. However, we can make space for ourselves, giving ourselves time regularly for our meditation and reflections,  and allowing the mind to settle and trust in its potential.

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Photo: Matthieu Ricard


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