Creativity coach and therapist Eric Maisel, PhD notes the word mindfulness stands for “the nonjudgmental observation and acknowledgment of our thoughts.” He explains:
“We notice the thought – for example, ‘I am running from my writing’ – and acknowledge that we had the thought. The thought comes, we notice it, and it goes.”
So, how is that relevant or useful for creative thinking and expression?
In my experience, one of the ways I have limited my creative work is through identifying too much with my rational thinking, and elevating it as the primary “authority” in making choices – above other ways of knowing.
Intuition, for example.
[See related post: Wrestling with our intuition.]
Dr. Maisel notes, “The central goal of ordinary mindfulness is to let such thoughts come and go without experiencing pain, without holding onto them, and without turning them into monsters that eat us alive.”
But the goal of creative mindfulness, he says, is “not only the nonjudgmental observation of your thoughts but complete right thinking that leads to authenticity, creativity, and mental health.
“The high ideal of creative mindfulness is to master ordinary mindfulness, in the sense in which Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others have described it, and to employ that mastery in the service of deep thought, rich action, and wide-awake living.”
He details six strategies of creative mindfulness, including:
“Fearlessly observe your thoughts. All of your excuses, all the ways you unhinge yourself, all of your dodges, all of your secret complaints and sources of pain, are right there in the thoughts you are thinking. Awaken to the knowledge of your own thoughts.
“Free your neurons, empty your mind, and ready yourself for creating. Ordinary mindfulness is the observation of thought. Creative mindfulness requires that you vanish, your mind hushed, so that your creative thoughts can appear. Open to an ever-deepening silence that is pregnant with your coming creative work.”
From article: Mindfulness, by Eric Maisel, PhD.
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Is Meditation Brain Food?
Dr. Daniel Amen: “We thought meditation would actually lower brain function; it doesn’t – it activates the most thoughtful part of the brain which is the prefrontal cortex.”
Dr. Gary Small: “We see remarkable increases in neural activity as a result of meditation, You only have to do it 6 or 10 minutes a day and you see those changes.”
See full video in article: Meditation for Emotional Health and Creativity.
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Video: “Sue Smalley, PhD describes how when you practice mindfulness you learn to relate to your thoughts and feelings and bodily sensations differently.”
“Susan Smalley is a Professor of Psychiatry, and the Founder and Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.”
Article: Mindfulness And Meditation In The Modern World, By Susan Smalley. – “Attention to one’s inner world requires tools, time, and creativity, just like a healthy body requires water, nutritious food, and exercise.
“Meditation and mindfulness are tools for use by anyone requiring only a willingness and intent to practice.”
Book: Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness,by Diana Winston, Susan L. Smalley PhD.
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See more articles on Meditation and mindfulness.
Image at top: ‘contemplation‘ – by AlicePopkorn.
Her caption: “You wake up each day from the dream; but to be free, you must also wake up from the waking state.” Mooji
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Developing Multiple Talents: The personal side of creative expression
[Website – with reviews and excerpts.]
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Eric Maisel, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and creativity coach.
See list of books by Eric Maisel on developing creativity and personal growth.
Also see list of Books To Fuel Your Creative Mind.