CREATIVITY: From Where does it come?
“So, where does great work come from? … As a writer, there are some days when the words flow effortlessly, and then moments when not a word makes any sense. It’s classic. It’s something that we all deal with. Many believe that we need the perfect situation for our creativity to flow. We need to not be disrupted or distracted or faced with problems for our best work to flow with muse.” ~ Tim Harford, TED talk
And so it goes for any creative activity. There is no one key trait that defines creativity. Many neuroscientists believe that activating our ‘creative mode’ involves different interacting cognitive processes, both conscious and unconscious, as well as our emotions. Though we still don’t understand everything that goes on in the brain, there is research to back-up the idea that stillness plays a role and letting your mind wander without critically thinking. Trying not to solve a problem so much as allowing our thoughts to just free associate.
When reading about creative writers, scientists, artists, and so on, what they had in common was ‘down time’, the time they just went for walks like Thoreau and Dickens, or took cat naps like Edison. They blocked out the world around them and went to a stress free place in their mind.
They relied on their accumulated resources they had in their minds already and took time for the brain to defragment. The brain rearranges and restores information that we have already taken in so when we need a particular piece of information, we will be able to access quickly. To do this, the brain needs us to be quiet to incubate all the information we have received. To do something that is not problem-solving. We need to be relaxed and stress free.
Increased creative thinking is a side-effect of calming our inner mind
So, one way to become more creative is to be in the habit of daily meditation. It is a way to break from all the distractions and constant demands we have in our daily lives.
You could start your day with a few minutes of just sitting — not thinking about what the day holds for you, but just trying to not think of anything. Or you could take a walk, or take a break in the afternoon sitting down and counting your breaths. One workshop I was in had us sit down and concentrate first on our toes, then feet, and slowing moving up our body, thinking of how that particular part of the body felt. It takes you into yourself, letting your brain defragment. Stopping your brain from trying to solve a problem and instead just work on the filing system in your head.
~ Jude Lobe