Dear Integral Meditators,
This weeks article focuses on mindfulness and meditation in relation to our creative capacity, and how we can enhance three types of creative power within ourself through regular mindfulness practice. Enjoy!
Three Types of Creativity Arising From Mindfulness and Meditation
One of the simplest ways to start understanding how mindfulness increases our powers of creativity is to understand that daily mindfulness practice helps us to consciously shift our brainwave patterns from beta waves, which is our normal, wide awake functional state of mind to alpha and theta waves, which are states of mind associated with deep levels of relaxation, reduced levels of conceptual thought and (if used in the right way) greater levels of creativity/improvisational ability.
Learning to consciously enter into the lightly altered states of relaxation and creativity characterized by alpha and theta waves has three types of way in which it contributes to our creative power, which I have termed macro-creativity, micro-creativity and qualitative creativity.
Macro-creativity is the sort of creativity that helps us to think of new ideas, new directions in life and new ways of doing things. It is an overtly creative state of mind and being. We need macro-creativity if our work is inherently demanding of greater degrees of creativity; for example if we are an entrepreneur, designer, artist or such, or simply when life is demanding of us that we think of really new approaches to long term problems and challenges.
Micro-creativity is a more low-key but in my opinion equally important level of creativity. It is about the small choices that you make each day, for example:
- Choosing to adopt the positive perspective on the feedback that we received from a colleague about our work, rather than reacting negatively and defensively
- Choosing to accept the limitations that family life places upon our freedom with appreciation, rather than unconsciously resenting it.
- Taking an opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy a five minute coffee break, rather than spending the entire time we are drinking neurotically worrying about the day’s activities.
So micro-creativity is all about exercising your creative freedom in the small choices you make each day in order to maximise your enjoyment, happiness and appreciation of whatever it is that you are experiencing. It is a kind of “bread and butter” type of creativity that anyone can get in the habit of using and that mindfulness helps to develop.
Qualitative creativity is more like a feeling of creativity and playfulness, rather than an act of creativity per-se. It is simply a feeling of lightness and playfulness that we can take into our life, use to enhance its quality, and counter the excessive seriousness and or rigid states of thinking and acting that are keeping us trapped in a cycle of negativity.
One Minute Mindfulness: Exercise Your Micro-creativity
This exercise involves simply being aware that you always have more than one choice in your approach to whatever is happening to you during the day, and regularly asking yourself the question “Have I been making the right creative choices to my challenges so far today?” If not, exercise your mindful creative ability to choose an approach or adopt a perspective to what is happening that will serve you better.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com