The current discussion trends of mindfulness are often in relation to stress management. However, regular meditation practice can help interrupt rigid thinking, or what we often refer to being “stuck in a rut” or ruminating. When we spin our wheels, we have long since lost perspective and locked in our thought patterns. This limits, if not, cut off the flow of creativity entirely.
Much of what makes creativity flow is being able to apply solutions to problems, whether that is how to write more elegant code, stronger buildings or determining the composition of an illustration. When we get caught up in our heads a little too long, it’s hard to get out.
In a series of recent studies, scientists had found that when they assigned problem-solving tasks, those who meditated were able to apply more simplistic solutions without frustration while those who didn’t struggle longer.
Mediation is not the magic bullet to endless production, but it is a way to help keep the pipes clear between projects. By renewing our focus on the present, we can move past the ruts and keep everything limber.
Take 5-10 minutes to walk barefoot outside or in our home. Focus on the sensations you feel: textures of the floor, how it presses into your feet, or the temperature. The goal is to focus your mind on a task that is separate from your everyday routine.
Seated in a chair, on the floor, or on a cushion and focus on: an object, your breath, or location in your mind for 5-20 minutes. You will notice that your attention will drift and that it totally fine. Just bring your attention back to your target and start again.
This can be done with any drink that you enjoy. I generally use tea. When preparing your drink, notice the aroma, texture and how the water or liquid(s) interacts. Are there swirls the steam or in the separation? Does anything come bobbing to the surface, or does anything sink to the bottom? How do you feel when you inhale the aroma? How does it feel when you drink? Again the goal is to bring your mind’s attention to the present task.
This can be with finger paints, watercolors, acrylics, oils, or any other painting medium (if you are digital artist, it is recommended that you do something tactile and not to just paint on your computer). The only purpose is to just move your brush or your fingers. What does it feel like to make different shapes? Are there certain colors you are drawn to? What happens when you mix in other mediums. When you are done, you might be inclined to keep the finished piece, but in the reflection of Tibetan sand art, once you have appreciated your work, destroy it. This is a good exercise in gaining a better understanding of our attachment to our work.
These are all exercises I practice on a regular basis as a way to either gear up for the day or to relax before retiring. I feel that for me, embracing mindfulness as a creative as well as in my personal life has brought joy, solace, and focus.
Is there a meditative practice that you are currently doing that wasn’t mention here? Feel free to share in the comments below.