We are living in a knowledge based economy where we depend on creating innovative solutions. How can we improve our ability to innovate and be creative? Meditation can help you spark your creativity and help solve a problem that has been eating away at you brain for days. I will also show you techniques on how to get out of a creative rut so you can keep your innovative ideas flowing. Creativity shouldn’t be looked as a chore we should be happy that we can innovate and bring about our thoughts and ideas into reality. Just look at how much joy an artist or musician has when a spark of inspiration moves them to produce creative art pieces. Whether you are an entrepreneur, artist, teacher, or student meditation can help you become more creative.
The light house and laser method
I learned this method in my freshman year of college and it helped me all throughout my life. This method is a mental framework that you apply if you are trying to solve a problem for work, studying, or just trying to come up with new ideas. Say you need to solve a problem at work first you want your thoughts and mind to scan broadly across many desperate areas. Just how the light house beam is wide and rotating to cover a large area of sea you want your mind to roam free. By letting your mind roam free you can find desperate connections that might be outside your field of reference. This helps you build connections that most people might not think of connecting together. Many innovations start by getting inspiration from solutions in different industries. For example Google’s Nest, who would thought to combine a lack luster thermostat with innovative software to help save you energy and control your house. This practice has a more formal name in industry called cross pollination where you take ideas from very desperate industries and use it to help solve your problem.
To perform the light house technique close your eyes and visualize a large beam of light is projecting from your head. For about two minutes visualize that you can rotate this light side to side and up and down. Let any thoughts arise in you and don’t force it out no matter how crazy It is. Your thoughts will start to flow and it will be like a stream of ideas. Give yourself the freedom to stretch your mind and imagination. It might take a couple of sessions but you will start to gain the ability to truly think “outside the box”. Let your mind wander and keep on observing. Keep physical or mental note of anything that pops into your mind. Try not to think of the problem at hand so you do not bias your thoughts. Don’t filter out any idea you may never know a crazy and stupid thing might lead to a breakthrough. After you feel like you got 10 different areas of interests now its time for the laser method. With the laser method you now look at each area of interest you came up with and focus on that topic. Dig deep and do as much research you can do on this topic. This can be done easily now with the volumes of information in the internet. The point of the laser method is to solely focus on on that topic and understand it more than just on a surface level. See if you can find any features of similarities that might be a solution to your problem. Dive deep into the subject matter uncovering all about it. You will be amazed to see how much a little topic of can have. Additionally laser focusing prevents us from multitasking and becoming distracted. If you add up all the time that you wasted working on a task that would take you 1 hour to do you might see that you wasted 30 minutes on distressing things like Facebook or Instagram By laser focusing you keep your train of thought so that you are able to think more deeply than you normally would. Thinking deeply is key to gain profound insights in you work. We usually just skim the top of a subject assuming that we truly know it. While in reality there is so much knowledge and insight if you go deeper.
Keep on iterating this process by alternating the light house and laser method. You will begin to stockpile a list of potential areas of interests that you an focus on to get new solutions.
Get out of a creative rut
Writers block, creative cramps, missing muse, whatever you call it, lack of creativity can make you feel empty and frustrated. How can we get ourselves out of a creative rut and start the ideas flowing again? One way is to take a step back from our normal habits and associations, step out of your boundary into areas you do frequent often or are not familiar with. When we are in a creative rut we feel that our ideas are not flowing and we cant for the life of us come up with anything creative. This stagnation makes us feel that we lost our ability to create and we might give up. If you are wrangling with a problem the best thing to do is step away from it. Take your time to do something relaxing such as meditating exercising, or taking a shower. Our minds need rest to recharge and take a fresh look at the problem. Let your mind relax and imagine that you are recharging your brain. Your subconscious mind will have time to process the information that you have been thinking about. The best part is that the more you practice relaxing the less time you will need to recharge your mind. You will start to understand your body better and build techniques that will have you relaxed and ready for your next challenge. Research has shown that our subconscious brain actually processes information without you being conscious. You might have experienced this while you were in the shower taking a relaxing warm shower and boom the solution to your problem you have been having at work just pops into your mind. It is actually your brain is processing and working to come up with solutions without your conscious awareness. Brain Sciences, associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University Ezequiel Morsella coined the theory “Passive Frame Theory“. This is where your mind passively is processing information and coming up with new solutions with out you being in that frame of reference. It might be just the reason why you get you brilliant idea when you are in the shower.
Build New Associations Mindfully
New associations can help spark our innovation and make a connection that we were not aware of. We typical dwell in our normal sphere same, location, friends, interests food. We rarely venture out to try new things and step out of our comfort zone. Be observant of new processes come into it with a fresh mind without any judgment. If we come into a situation thinking we know it then we will never learn anything new. We can utilize our mindful training to observe and find new patterns or insights. For example, when I tried to learn guitar I learned a lot about chords and the mathematics behind pleasant sounding frequency combinations. I find it really fascinating how the combination and destruction of sound waves create new sounds. I still cant play guitar (lol) but I have a new appreciation of music and how it relates to science.
Wrestle with a problem in your mind
Whenever we are stuck on a problem we are inclined to throw as much time and effort into solving it. If that is not working for you try to take a more relaxed and meditative approach. Find a comfortable place to sit and start to slowly breathe. Relax yourself for 3 minutes. After you feel relaxed visualize the problem in your head. Let your mind wander and just observe where it takes you. Try not to consciously dictate where it goes. Imagine if your thoughts are just like a river constantly flowing and changing just let all your thoughts out without judgement
Using your mind’s eye
Many great innovators have hinted to using their minds eye to gain new insights and strengthen their mind. I read a great biography on the top physics innovators. One of the things that stood out to me was how Rutherford, the founder of the nucleus, would use his mind’s eye to visualize himself as an electron. These thought experiments of imagining yourself as an electron and feeling how the different forces effect you is a profound way to gain new insights. Einstein is an other famous physicist for performing thought experiments. They are pushing their imagination and critical thinking skills to the limit. Your minds eyes helps you to visualize problems and go through potential solutions mentally. It promotes deep thinking Just like meditation if you practice these techniques you will being to become better at it. Remember meditation has taught us even as adults we are able to change some of our neurological pathways strengthening positive connections and diminishing negative ones.
Creativity is the expression of our soul. As humans we are fortunate to be able to create and bring new innovations art and ideas into the world. No matter what you create be it a new mathematical theorem, panting, song, or the next iphone a part of yourself is being infused in these creations. Meditation can help exercise our ability to create and tap into our inner urge of expressing ourselves.