No matter where you are on your meditation journey, you can still reap many of the proclaimed benefits of meditation in the short term.
Fortunately, meditation can work in favor of your goals, no matter if it’s logical or artistic. But because meditation helps us disconnect the mind, it begs the question, doesn’t it make you less creative?
This will depend on person to person, but because creativity often goes hand in hand with focus, meditation helps with creativity indirectly, by improving your concentration on anything you’re doing.
One of the major fears that keep people from getting started with the discipline is that they think they have something to lose (such as time, or anything else such as drive or creativity).
That’s true, with meditation we have something to lose, things to sacrifice to stick with the habit. But losing in the sense that we’re eliminating dead weight in our life or something that doesn’t serve us a purpose, such as high levels of stress.
No one purposely signs up for more stress in their life. But stress can be in the way of creative thinking by cluttering the mind or distracting it, not letting such creativity flow to its peak.
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Problem Solving and Creativity
In a study made by Leiden University, those who engaged in meditation in conjunction with divergent thinking reported a boost in their creativity.
Divergent thinking is when we generate new ideas as a means to fix a particular problem. Something that can be obstructed if the monkey mind is all over the place.
However, a similar benefit can be observed with mere mindfulness, where we are open to receiving new ideas, in this case, by allowing thoughts to coexist in our minds without trying to stop them. What we resist persists.
By the nature of meditation, you wire your mind in a way where you start to see solutions where you otherwise would see obstacles, which aids you in your creative process. A simple 10-minute meditation every day can be enough to see changes in the area of creative thinking.
Meditation is the equivalent of taking the mind out of a traffic jam. If you’re constantly busy with thoughts and don’t allow your mind to go on a break, you’re by default wired to think about what’s next to come. Your mind is working very hard 24/7, and it’s just like building muscle.
Thinking is great, but so is allowing the muscle to grow. Problem-solving can start on a small scale, then extend as you get more confident with your ability to meditate, and have a track record of better output with it.
For that, it’s important you find a meditation that works for you, as well as it’s important to find the amount of time that works for you when meditating.
Quietness Allows New Thoughts To Arise
There’s a reason many are recommended to meditate in a dark, quiet room – we want to remove distractions as much as possible. Meditation can already be hard enough with the mind going to different places.
By meditating in a busy environment, while completely possible and while meditation can be done at any time, it’s not ideal for the mind to have an excuse to go wandering off.
We can bring our attention back slowly to the present, but if you’re able to set up an environment that favors meditation, there’s no reason not to do it.
Make it known to your mind that you’re doing something different rather than having the mind get used to something it’s already acquainted with.
A quiet room, when you’re in complete silence with yourself, you get to know yourself, your desires, your inner fears.
Some of the thoughts you suppress to this day might contain portions of creativity, or memories of when you were more creative.
There’s this notion that we’re born being creative but it’s later stripped away from us by making the mind robotic and thinking on autopilot.
When you take that control back, something you’ll easily be able to do if you sit in a quiet meditation environment where you let thoughts arise, you could retrieve some of that creativity you may not know you had.
A New Reality
Your mind is locked in a scope of reality, where there’s everything you know and that’s it. You can always learn more and acquire more skills, but that often, that’s geared towards the logical part, unless you’re learning something artistic.
But deep states of meditation take your mind to places you hadn’t been – you experience things you hadn’t experienced, and these experiences could be transcribed artistically. For instance, seeing a combination of colors, shapes, and lights.
Your scope of reality has already been pre-programmed by what you’re already acquainted with.
With meditation, you extend that circle, which aids you in other areas, for instance, creatively. Meditation can also help you indirectly. For instance, with meditation, you tend to have an easier time lucid dreaming.
What you see in a lucid dream can be a reflection of something going on in your life or something you want to achieve, but that’s uniquely tailored to you.
Artists have used lucid dreaming as an inspiration to create their art. So, aside from the direct explicit gains that you get from meditation, there are also the indirect parts to it.
Clearer Mind, More Focus, More Creativity
Being creative requires focus, at least, for most people. But if that path to creativity is obstructed by a million thoughts where the mind jumps through a million hoops, it makes it harder.
Once you remove that clutter (often through meditation) you remove a variable that was making the creativity harder to attain.
The monkey mind likes to attach itself to the first shiny object it sees, because the shiny object is filled with this temporary feel-good sensation the mind is so dependent on.
If you set that aside, you’re ahead of many on the same path as you are. Achieving focus in this day and age is rare, but you naturally wire yourself, which, as a result, creativity becomes a byproduct.
Is Meditation Guaranteed To Affect Your Creativity
Meditation increases your awareness, and that, as a result, can impact your creativity positively. But it’s no guarantee it will.
One of the most prominent gains of meditation is how it can make you calmer and more focused on the present moment, as well as more emotional and even logical. There also isn’t a one-size-fits-all meditation that will work for everyone.
Some do movement meditation, and because of the flexibility when defining what meditation is and how it can be anything, you could technically go on a walk, apply meditation to that walk by focusing on your surroundings, for instance, wind, the leaves, the birds, which in turn can inspire creativity.
The good news is that no matter if you’re starting out or have been in it for years, meditation is available for everyone, and because meditation teaches you more about yourself, the jury on whether it’ll make you more creative will depend on you.
But one thing is for sure, it’s unlikely to make you less creative. More focus only helps the creative process for individuals who feel like they aren’t naturally creative, which, in that sense, meditation is for the most part an indirect way to boost creativity without guaranteeing it.