Someone recently asked me about how to deal with useful distractions:
As a creative writer, I think I get some of my best ideas while in a meditative state such as when showering or shaving. My question is what I should do when a ‘useful’ or ‘epiphany moment’ happens while meditating. My instinct is to get up and write my idea down and my fear is that if I go back to my breathing I will lose this idea which has bubbled up from my subconscious. I don’t really see my wandering mind as a thing to avoid but a thing to embrace – which confuses me regarding the practice of meditation.
Mind-wandering is partly … Read more »
Digital Journal: In the hope of increased innovation, Google is offering its employees meditation and mindfulness courses, CNBC reported September 20th. According to their article, “Ommmm! How Silicon Valley values meditation,” Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” course has been taken by more than 1,000 employees and currently has more than 400 on the waiting list, and is geared towards teaching emotion management which could ultimately increase productivity and creativity. Programme creator Chade-Meng Tan commented, “There are people who came to me that say they got promotions because they came to my class, people who say they feel a lot better physically, mentally and emotionally,…
For social psychologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, creativity wasn’t necessarily about bringing something — a poem, a symphony, a sculpture — into being. For him, creativity was an attitude. Creativity was the ability first to be aware, and then to respond. In this sense, creativity may produce works of art that can be viewed in a gallery, but it is also a way of living. Creativity may produce not only art but a life lived with awareness, a life imbued with meaning, a life lived well. Creativity is about allowing life to come into being — fully.
When I sat down to write this post just a few minutes ago, I looked at this … Read more »
Last night I sat without a timer, or rather using a stick of incense to time my sit. Recently I bought some rather lovely Shoyeido Nokiba (Moss Garden) incense, which has long sticks that burn for 50 minutes. It’s a nice alternative to using my iPad as a timer. Sometimes it’s nice not to have electronics between me and my little altar.
The Boys in the Basement offered up some interesting experiences. The “Boys in the Basement” is a term I borrowed from the novelist Stephen King. He uses it to refer to the creative powers of the mind. I write quite a lot, and the term resonated with me very strongly. Writing barely happens … Read more »
I just stumbled across a lovely column by author Pico Iyer in the New York Times on “The Joy of Quiet.”
He discusses how overwhelmed we are:
In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.
I tend to think of us — well, most of us, anyway — as being a bit like early 20th century rubes from the sticks who have just arrived on Times Square, and are dazzled by the … Read more »
Meditation is often thought to help expand the mind, opening up the limits of consciousness. Now research suggests that meditation can indeed help one keep an open mind, preventing people from falling into mental traps that prolong problem-solving, findings appearing in the journal PLoS ONE. So is this worth pitching?
The research is rooted in experiments based on something with the intriguing name of the Einstellung water jar task. Einstellung literally means “attitude” in German — in this case, it refers to the creation of a mechanized state of mind, a propensity to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though …
Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. This is the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University, published 19 April in the open access journalist ‘Frontiers in Cognition‘.
This study is a clear indication that the advantages of particular types of meditation extend much further than simply relaxation. The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we think and how we experience events.
Two ingredients of creativity
The study investigates the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
Joe, a student in my online class, was worried that meditation would hurt his career. He works in a very competitive business where everyone is single-mindedly pushing and driving hard all the time. The whole idea of “letting go” seemed absurd in that context. But at the same time his stress and anxiety levels were sky high. He knew this wasn’t a sustainable way to live.
Yes it’s true that in meditation, we’re told to drop everything and let go. But that doesn’t mean becoming passive and ineffectual. There’s more to this instruction than meets the eye.
There’s an image that comes to mind for me to illustrate what letting go is like. Imagine we’re … Read more »
About 40 people sat calmly with their eyes closed, letting their thoughts drift and their minds settle on the present moment.
In a quiet, steady voice, Diana Winston guided the group into a mode of relaxation.
“Try to soften your stomach,” Winston, director of mindfulness education at the Mindful Awareness Research Center, gently instructed them.
The communal meditation initiated an event about the relationship between creativity, the brain and mental awareness in the Neuroscience Research Building auditorium on Saturday.
“Mindfulness, Neuroscience and Creativity: An Interactive Exploration” was the first workshop of the summer and cost $50 to participate. In addition to classes and daylong programs, a full mindfulness course is also being offered through the … Read more »
When we think of changing our lives for the better, we may think of a new job, a new home, a new relationship, or material wealth – more “things” that we think will improve our lives.
Recently I saw a bumper sticker that read “the best things in life are not things” – it made me smile and I started thinking about ways to live a better life without looking for or wanting more stuff.
Here is my list:
1. Simplify – rather than desiring more, find ways to live with less. Bring clothing to Good Will or a charity. Clear away clutter from countertops and tables. If you have not used something or worn … Read more »