28 May 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: How to increase creativity with meditation

If Jackson Pollock was the archetypal boozing, tortured artist, would he have painted anything worthwhile if he had found inner peace? Or would he have been an even better painter if he had indeed found inner peace.

If Steve Jobs was the super-cool Zen creator, would Apple even have come into existence if he had not meditated?

If, as Spike Milligan said “it is all in the mind”, how does sitting quietly to train your mind through meditation build creativity?

Maybe it is because of the type of mind meditation produces.

A calm and clear mind
Leave a glass of muddy water undisturbed; the mud settles and we are left with clear water. The mind is the same. Left undisturbed, it becomes calm and clear. Then comes the capacity to recognize simplicity amongst complexity. For Jobs, this led to Apple’s elegant, functional design.

The beginner’s mind
As the mind settles and becomes less agitated, there comes a certain freshness. The capacity to bring a new perspective to the commonplace. Meditation fosters curiosity, awe and wonderment.

The focused mind
But for creativity to advance from being a good idea to a manifest work, we need concentration and grounded application. Training the mind through meditation is like going to the gym to develop physical muscles. Going inwards, we develop inner strength and things get done.

So often good ideas, insights, creativity, get hijacked, diluted, destroyed by the events of ordinary daily life. Trauma from the past, fear for the future, the pressures of modern living, all conspire to overwhelm creativity. Mindfulness teaches us to let go of unhelpful concerns for past and future and to function more joyfully in the present.

The wisdom mind
Science has much to offer, but is based on the intellect, which is analytical and linear, and has little to do with creativity. For true creativity, we need to go beyond the realm of the intellect. Not to become irrational, but non-rational, beyond-rational; and to access that deeper, more profound inner world of wisdom and creativity.

There are many ways to meditate. A simple and reliable approach is to break it down into 4 east steps.

1. Preparation. This is about organizing 10 - 20 minutes once or twice a day, finding a suitable place, taking up a symmetrical, balanced posture, settling into that posture and turning your mind inwardly – away from day to day events.

2. Relaxation. Then we learn to relax the body and calm the mind. This is easily achieved by focusing the mind and concentrating on the feeling as we relax the body. Doing this frees us from the physical tension so often associated with stress, allows our body’s biochemistry to regain its natural, healthy balance and settles “the mud” in our mind.

3. Mindfulness. As we relax more, we naturally become more aware. This leads to mindfulness, where almost like an impartial observer, we can be aware of the sounds around about us, the thoughts and feelings within us, and remain undistracted and unperturbed. Calm and clear.

4. Stillness. As we progress, we notice a deeper stillness. At first a glimpse, then a deeper experience of the truth and essence of who we really are, what is in our heart’s essence.

One convergence of modern creativity and technology with the ancient mind science of meditation is Mindbody Mastery. It combines a downloadable meditation program with an innovative support package including daily emails, weekly SMS messages, webinars etc to add to and reinforce your learning and practise.

The biggest challenge with meditation is to actually do it! Evidence tells us that the Mindbody Mastery support system actually does help people to practise regularly. The Mindbody Mastery website is in the final stages of a major upgrade that will be completed any day now.

Happy meditating and may the creativity be with you.

Mindbody Mastery

Meditation in 4 easy steps

A reminder I will be in Brisbane, Coff’s Harbor, Katoomba and then Sydney in June and July. Details on the website: CLICK HERE

1. A Miracle in a classroom. A fabulous new film available to download Room to Breathe 

Room to Breathe is the first mainstream documentary about bringing mindfulness into education. It is an authentic representation of what it’s like to teach mindfulness in a truly challenging environment. By providing a raw and realistic look at the process, it shows how even the most difficult classrooms can be turned around with patience, teaching skill, and partnership with school staff.

Room To Breathe is a surprising and inspiring story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness meditation.

Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices: repeating the cycle of trying to force tuned-out children to listen, or to experiment with timeless inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and attentional skills that they need to succeed.

The first question is whether it’s already too late. Confronted by defiance, contempt for authority figures, poor discipline, and more interest in “social” than learning, can a mindfulness teacher (Megan Cowan from Mindful Schools) succeed in opening their minds and hearts?

To watch the trailer: Click here 

“This film beautifully and authentically portrays the power of mindfulness to change individuals, families, one classroom, and perhaps, one day, the world.”
 Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education, UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center

Buy the film:  Click here

2. Mindfulness in a Huff
The much read Huffington Post has recognized the value of mindfulness, in 20 different ways! 

They say “Even though the academic research on mindfulness meditation isn't as robust as, say, nutrition or exercise, there is a reason why it's been around for literally thousands of years. And we're starting to get a better understanding of why it seems to be beneficial for so many aspects of life, from disease and pain management, to sleep, to control of emotions.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE

1 comment:

  1. I have been trying to get mindfulness into schools, lots of red tape, not only that , you need parents approval! It will come one day.