Meditation For Creativity To Let Your Creative Energy Flow

best meditation for creativity

Today we’ll discuss how to use meditation for creativity and flow. 

When you use the right meditation techniques, you can greatly increase your creative flow.  You will start to create with ease, being productive without even trying.

When we meditate, we enhance our creative brain ad unleash our artistic side. That’s why meditative practices are so valuable for anyone who works in a creative profession. 

However, you need to know which meditations to use. Because while some meditation techniques, like mindful writing, help with the creative flow, others hinder it.  

 

Link Between Meditation And Creativity

According to Harvard Business Review, meditation enhances creativity and innovation. That’s why many executives have started meditating.

But why, exactly, does meditation improve your creative thinking skills?

 To understand the link between meditation and creativity, we have to understand what both creativity and meditation are.

Psychology of creativity and glow

Creativity is “the use of skill and imagination to produce something new or to produce art,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. 

It was previously believed that creativity was performed solely in the right hemisphere of the brain. But recently, science has discovered that there are in fact many neural networks involved with the creative process.

In particular, there are three key areas of the brain involved with creativity. Together these regions are called the “Creativity Network”. They are:

Salience Network:

A large-scale network in the anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex that is involved with complex brain functions. The salience network plays a pivotal role in our motivation to act. Studies show that when this network is blocked creative flow stops.

Default Mode Network:

This is a large network of multiple brain areas that are active when we are at rest. When the default mode network is active, we recall memories, daydream, and think about different things. The Default Network is involved with “constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences” according to neuroscientist and psychologist Randy Buckner.    

Executive Network:

A large-scale network that monitors and resolves conflicts between responses, feelings, and thoughts. This is active when concentrating, problem-solving, planning and switching.

Creativity is the result of these three networks working together, according to a research report by Harvard and published in NeuroScience News.

Meditation and the creative brain

Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind.

There are many forms of meditation, including Buddhist meditations, yogic methods, breathing techniques, mantras, mudras, music, and specific guided meditations for creativity. You may have seen some of the meditations of leading experts like Tara Brach, Jon Kabat Zinn and Pema Chodron. 

Research published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience shows that meditation increases intrinsic functional connectivity in the Creativity Network of the brain. Therefore, meditation directly improves the brain functions that produce creativity.

Let’s take a look at the best types of meditation for creativity.

 

Best Types of Meditation for Creativity

meditating improves creativity
open meditations improve creativity

1: Pure Awareness

This is the best meditation for creativity. When you use this technique, you will strengthen your creative brain.  

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Lie down on a bed or on a matt. Make sure your spine is straight and that your neck is relaxed. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for five to ten minutes. Watch the breath as it moves through your body. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system and relax your mind. 
  2. Listen to the sounds around you in a non-judgmental fashion, without thinking. Allow the sounds of the world to enter your mind freely without resisting them. Aim for complete acceptance and awareness.
  3. Continue for ten minutes.

This is open-monitoring meditation. Try it now. Ideas will flow into your brain. 

2: Pure Vision

Another excellent meditation for creativity is Pure Vision. If you’re a visual artist, you will love this technique because it enhances creative thinking skills.

  1. Find somewhere relaxing and tranquil, perhaps a seat in a quiet park or somewhere scenic.
  2. Sit comfortably with good posture. Place your feet shoulder-distance apart. Sit with a straight but relaxed spine. Slightly lower your chin to elongate your neck. Breathe in through the nose. Relax.
  3. Look at the colours and shapes around you.
  4. Look at how light plays on various surfaces. 
  5. Explore the scene with your eyes.
  6. Spend twenty minutes mindfully observing the visual world. During this time do not use your analytical mind. Don’t think or judge. Just observe the visual world directly through your senses.

If you are a visual artist this is going to do you huge favours. It is the best cure for artists’ block.

3: Five Senses Poetry

This is a beautiful creative technique that improves artistic skills by making us more aware of sensory information (which can be a terrific source of inspiration).

  1. Find a scene you would like to write about.
  2. Now observe everything about the scene through your senses.
  3. Pay attention to sight, sound, scents, feelings and sounds.
  4. Write a poem that includes all five senses.

 

 

4: Chakra Dhyana meditation for creativity

I highly recommend using chakra meditation for creativity. Specifically, we want to open Svadhisthana, the second chakra, because this is the energy centre of our artistic side.

Svadhisthana means “Dwelling place of the self”. It’s the sacral chakra, located below the navel. And it is related to the element of water.

When prana flows freely through Svadhisthana, it will significantly enhance pleasure, abundance, well-being, and creative thinking. 

Have you ever wondered why we lose creativity? One reason is that life and stress prevent the flow of prana through Svadhisthana, stopping creative energy from flowing. We can return the flow of prana to the sacral chakra. In turn, we will improve our creativity. 

Read my guide to chakra meditation here. 

 

5: Ida Nadi Breathing

Another great meditation for creativity is Ida Nadi breathing. 

  1. Close your right nostril with the two fingers of your right hand
  2. Take one breath in through one nostril
  3. Breathe out through the other nostril
  4. Continue alternating until you have taken six breaths through each nostril.

 

6: Mantras for creativity

Another way to activate the sacral chakra and boost artistry is by using a mantra. The correct mantra for creativity is VAM. Chanting this mantra vibrates Svadhisthana and brings it into balance. 

Close your eyes and meditate on VAM for five minutes.

 

Science on meditation and creativity

Research has found significant benefits of meditation for creativity and flow. 

However, there’s a secret. You shouldn’t just do any old type of meditation. Because while some meditations make us more creative, others make us less so.

There are two different varieties of meditation: Open and Focused.

  • Open meditation means we are aware of our entire environment. 
  • Focused meditation means we are focusing on one thing.

For creativity, use open meditations. 

Why?

Being creative is about thinking in different ways. The more flexible our thinking, the more artistic we will be. To be innovative and inventive, we need to be good at divergent and convergent thinking. [6]

Convergent thinking is a problem-solving skill, and divergent thinking is the ability to formulate new ideas.

The problem—in fact, the reason most people aren’t that creative—is that the mind naturally gets stuck in one way of looking at things.

As we go through life, we begin to look at things in one way. We have an idea of ourselves, an idea of other people, and an idea of the world around us.

As most people age, they become closed-minded [7]. Pablo Picasso said, “Everyone is born an artist. The trick is staying an artist when you grow up.” 

How do you stay an artist when you grow up? The trick is to see the world with open eyes and an open mind. 

Meditation helps because it opens the mind and helps us formulate new perceptions and new ideas.

be creative open your mind
To be more creative, open your mind

Use “Open Meditation” For Creativity

In 2012 scientists researched the effect of meditation on creativity.

Cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato studied the link between different types of meditation and the creative brain. Specifically, she looked at how meditating affects divergent and convergent thinking. [8]

What she discovered is that different types of meditation have different effects on our divergent and convergent thinking. 

“Open” meditation improves our divergent thinking skills.

Divergent thinking is the ability to look at the same thing in different ways. It is usually tested via a method called the Alternate Uses Task, in which the participant creates as many different possible uses for one object as they can in a certain amount of time.

Some meditations improve creativity by making us better at “convergent thinking.” 

Convergent thinking is the ability to take different objects or ideas and bring them together. It is tested through the Remote Associates Task method [9]. 

In the Remote Associate Task method, participants are given three different words and asked to find one unifying factor. For instance: Pen, Keyboard, Typewriter = Writing. 

Studies show that “Open Meditations” improve creativity. In “open meditation” we do not focus on one thing. Instead, we let the whole world come pouring in through our senses.

Do not use “Focused” meditations for creativity 

If you want to be more artistic and innovative, you need to open your mind. And that is precisely why most of the traditional methods of meditation (such as most Buddhist methods) are not helpful (in this one way). 

Most techniques involve focused attention; a method in which we focus on one thing. Focusing on one thing, however, does not open the mind.

thinking outside the box
To be artistic we need to think outside the box

An example

Imagine I’m writing a novel. I’m sitting at my writing desk staring at the blank page. I’m meditating on it. But I’m stuck. I don’t know what to do next.

Because I’m only focusing on the page in front of me, there is nowhere for me to get inspiration from. So being too focused is not helpful in this instance. And that’s what happens when you do a focused attention meditation. It doesn’t help creativity.  It’s not going to cure artists’ block /writers’ block.

But what about the very opposite? 

The opposite is open monitoring. We are aware of everything around us. I’m writing my novel and I’m meditating on everything. I’m aware of my entire surroundings. That means information from the outside world is freely flowing into my brain. There, it merges with my ideas of my novel, creating new thoughts and ideas.

To give an obvious example: I see a puppy outside. I think, “Holy cow. A puppy would totally change my novel”. But to think that thought, I had to be aware of both my novel and the puppy. Being focused on one of those two things would not have solved the problem.

Creativity requires divergent thinking, which is why the best type of meditation for creativity is open monitoring.  

 

Benefits of Meditation And Creativity

If you want to improve your mind, train yourself to be more creative. Meditation can help.

When we meditate, we open our creative and imaginative side. Speaking of which, here is my guide to imagination exercises.

There are significant benefits of meditation for creative people.

If you’re an entrepreneur, for instance, you can use mindfulness to come up with new ideas for business. And if you’re an artist, you can use it to create more original paintings, compositions, or whatever type of art you’re into.

But even if you’re not an entrepreneur or artist, it’s still worth meditating and being creative. Your visionary mind is a powerful tool in all different areas of life. For instance, consider this:

  • If you want to be any kind of artistic professional, you obviously need imagination.
  • To find solutions to problems, you need innovation.
  • If you want to find new possibilities, whether in work or in life, you need to be innovative.
  • And if you want to start a business, you first need to dream it up.

Health benefits of creativity

  • Creative people live longer according to Scientific American—”researchers found that only creativity—not intelligence or overall openness—decreased mortality risk.”
  • Making art can reduce negative emotions. [2]
  • Reduces stress [3]
  • Increases confidence [4]
  • Makes us happier [5]

I could go on.

The point is, there are lots of benefits of being creative. And one of the best ways to enhance creativity is with mindfulness.

Summary

In this guide, we have looked at how to use meditation for creativity, and you’ve learned how meditation can make you a more artistic person.

We’ve also looked at the scientific benefits of meditating for creativity too. And you might also like to read my guide to using yoga for creativeness.

 

SOURCES:

3: Study: Creativity Can Reduce Stress — And Become A Habit, Owen Poindexter, http://reset.me/study/study-creativity-can-reduce-stress-and-become-a-habit/

4: Using Creativity to Build Self-Esteem, NOVEMBER 10, 2015 FAY AGATHANGELOU, https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/11/creativity-to-build-self-esteem

 5: The Link Between Creativity and Happiness, Elizabeth Hopper PhD, HealthyPsych, https://healthypsych.com/the-link-between-creativity-and-happiness/

6: Divergent Versus Convergent Thinking, Olga M. Razumnikova, Cognitive Physiology LaboratoryState Research Institute of Physiology SB RAMS, Novosibirsk State Technical UniversityNovosibirskRussia https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-1-4614-3858-8_362

7: Changes in cognitive flexibility and hypothesis search across human life history from  childhood to adolescence to adulthood  Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/114/30/7892.full.pdf

8: Meditate to create: the impact of focused-attention and open-monitoring training on convergent and divergent thinking, Lorenza S. Colzato, Ayca Ozturk and Bernhard Hommel, Institute for Psychological Research and Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116/full

9: Remote Associates Test: https://www.remote-associates-test.com/

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.