Creativity is the ability to produce something new and novel. It’s a product of the subconscious mind. “Creativity is the process of bringing something new into being. Creativity requires passion and commitment. It brings to our awareness what was previously hidden and points to new life. The experience is one of heightened consciousness: ecstasy.” – Rollo May, The Courage to Create. Creativity is not merely an issue of imagination but an ability to act upon it. Your mind is active at two different levels – subjective and objective. When your mind receives impulses from the five sense organs and responds to the stimulus, it is performing at an objective level. It’s a reactionary response. Objective means conscious mind. On the other hand the subjective mind is free of constraints. It does not follow logic. It is not bound the laws of physics. It is the subconscious mind which can create new and novel products, solutions and methods. Meditation is a powerful technique to access your subconscious or the subjective mind. This will unleash a torrent of creativity and you will be able to discover absolutely novel solutions.
Meditation helps in bridging two or more existing concepts
Richard Foster, a lecturer in management at Yale SOM and emeritus director of McKinsey & Company, says that creativity is about making something new, rather than merely applying or discovering something new. Foster says that the key to being creative is the ability to find associations between different fields of knowledge, especially ones that appears radically different at first. The process is iterative rather than linear and requires people with curiosity, energy, and the openness to see connections where others cannot.
Meditation allows or permits this association between two or more disparate and different ideas. During meditation your mind is able to access the subconscious mind which accepts concepts without questioning or without bias. The subjective mind is able to bridge the gap between completely different concepts from entirely separate fields.
Creativity does not mean you have to be a scientist or an Astronomer. Creativity enhances your capacity to live life in a more effective manner. Meditation allows you to slip into a serene and calm state of awareness. You are no longer anxious and stressed. Creative ideas and solutions will automatically arise in your subconscious mind when you are in this state.
Meditation and the “Eureka” moment
Our mind is generally busy dealing with our senses. Most of our time is spent in reacting, analyzing and storing information which we receive from outside world through our sense organs. There is little time left to reflect and think. Moreover, the agitated state of mind is not the most conducive to creative thinking. Meditation means a deliberate act to slow down your racing mind. You rev down the engines and shift into a sedate and calm state of mind. You tend to get brilliant and original insights in a meditative state. Meditation encourages or fosters divergent thinking which is essential for creativity. CEO’s and businessmen rely on their ability to create coherence in a chaotic environment. Meditation enhances perception, awareness and your sense of observation. You become more receptive to novel ideas and this creates a positive atmosphere which is fertile for creative thinking. You are more likely to catch the “Eureka” moment when everything falls into place in a flash.
Meditation improves cognition
How does the brain think when solving complex problems? Mark Beeman, Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Northwestern University examines the problem in his book “The Eureka factor.” His research includes questions like ‘How does creative cognition differ from better understood forms of cognition, such as math problem-solving or procedural memory?’ It is exactly such questions which are being asked by researchers in the field of meditation. Creative cognition occurs when the mind is in a rested state. At this juncture, you are more perceptive to novel ideas and are able to triangulate different ideas and concepts while reaching a unique conclusion.
Meditation, as such, is a practice to calm the mind. There are many meditation techniques but most of them depend on breath control. Breath acts like an anchor to your thoughts and you are able to find creative solutions based on earlier experiences and thought processes. Meditation attempts to reach your subconscious mind which is usually not accessible at other times. Creative cognition occurs at the subconscious level in which there is a suspension of sensory awareness. The mind is free to think and is no longer driven by causative reactions. Cause and effect are the real reason why your mind tends to be limited in thinking.
Meditation enhances your capacity to think independently and results in better cognitive ability while promoting creativity. Retracting your mind from the daily grind of life by engaging in meditation practices boosts creativity. You must spend a few minutes a day in meditation, away from the daily hum of life. It will provide your mind with the freedom to discover more about your own self. A fresh mind will boost your creativity.