More Meditation Feeds Creativity
Creativity is an indispensable part of life that gives meaning to shapes and emotions to stories. With creativity we soak up our surroundings and create feelings through those colors and sounds. We translate our inner selves with unique expressions and innovative actions that are both original and inspired, all the while seeking more knowledge to better show off the inherent sparks that make us who we are.
Creativity isn’t something that can be lost, but sometimes we can feel cut off from the core of our more stimulated selves. Some have believed that they were fundamentally flawed and doomed to addiction because they were creative, while others believed they needed the misuse of substances as an outside source of inspiration, but in reality the key to creativity can be a lot closer than you think.
In fact, it can be as simple as mindfulness. There are certain meditation techniques which promote creative thinking, and you don’t have to be a guru to get the benefits. Even if you have never meditated before, giving it a shot can breakthrough writers block or brighten the colors on your life’s canvas.
The idea of beginners being able to gain from meditation is supported by the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University, which has been published in Mindfulness.
Setup of the study
For this study on meditation 40 individuals had to meditate for 25 minutes before doing their thinking tasks. The study was given some more diversity by adding were experienced mediators and people who never meditated before. Researchers investigated the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity:
- Divergent thinking
This kind of thinking allows for many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.
This also means thinking up as many possible solutions for a given problem.
- Convergent thinking
This is a process in which one possible solution for a particular problem is generated. The study measured this kind of thinking using the Remote Associates Task method, where three unrelated words are presented to the participants, and they are then asked to identify the common link.
For example, a series of words such as ‘time’, ‘hair’ and ‘stretch’ would be given, and the common link would be ‘long’.
With so many creative types being convinced that drugs or alcohol are the only way to get inspired, it could come as a relief that simple meditation can provide them with far more fulfilling ideas, even those without too much idea how to even meditate. Two ideas stand out in relation to this study:
- It proves you don’t need to be an experienced meditator to profit more from meditation. Even beginners get lucky and can create long-lasting progress.
- Findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we conceive new ideas.
The results of the study also demonstrate the fact not all forms of meditation have the same effect on creativity, so by using different methods of meditation the participants also experienced different results. This supports the idea of focusing on different mind sets during meditation can open your mind up to be receptive to different kinds of inspiration.
- Open Monitoring meditation is being receptive to every thought and sensation.
- Focused Attention meditation is focusing on a particular thought or object.
Subjects who used Open Monitoring meditation performed better in divergent thinking. The researchers did not see this effect with those who used Focused Attention meditation techniques.
So if you are looking for a more specific idea, maybe Focus Attention meditation is more effective. For someone trying to move in a more out-of-the-box direction, Open Monitoring meditation may make it easier to allow random and spontaneous concepts to find their way to you until the right one strikes a nerve.
To tie this all together, people have proven being open-minded and receptive (or even more focused) for meditation and observation can actually have a weighty impact on how your creativity comes out in your life. You don’t need to use external substances like drugs to be inspired.
Our true inspiration comes from deep within our own consciousness, and how it translates our perceptions into our passions. Transcendence can actually come from pure creative expression, so meditation can help us find it with a part of us that isn’t so much about seeing or hearing as it is about feeling.
Pursuing passions and finding new ways to connect with your actions and emotions is a huge part of recovery from drugs and alcohol. While it may seem impossible to ever be that way again, there is always a way to get back to that. It all begins with a step in the right direction, and the right teachers can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588