When researchers studied yogis with the most hours of meditation, they discovered with surprise that they produce at will high-frequency gamma waves in their brains.
This state is a sign of intense activity, a kind of “Eureka effect” also present when we realize new connections between our ideas.
These Yogi learned through a very long and rigorous work to put their minds on a state of strong creative energy.
According to Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson in The Science of Meditation, although we may never achieve the expertise of these masters, studies show that the practice of meditation triggers the different states conducive to your creativity.
By increasing your self-confidence, by clarifying and emptying your mind of distractions, by making you deeply focus on your thoughts and reflections, and by activating selective brain waves, it opens your mind to new creative resources.
Here’s how 4 meditative practices give you new connections in your ideas and emotions.
Working on Self-Compassion For Creative Confidence
A mind that is on the path to creativity is often filled with doubts about its ability to create new ideas: why would I have the ability to bring something new like great artists?
These doubts form a negative rumination that may prevent you from believing in your creative potential.
One of the teachings of Buddhist practice is to get rid of this negative self-talk by creating a sense of compassion for yourself.
Many meditation practices focus on reducing these anxious thoughts and achieving inner confidence. Studies have shown that focused attention-based exercises have a significant impact on mood and self-confidence, while kindness based meditation increases your positive emotions.
The first types of exercises seek to focus attention on the breath, encouraging the removal of negative thoughts and focus on the simple sensations of the body.
By trying to voluntarily distance yourself for 10 minutes from your doubts about your creativity and any other uneasy emotions, you can take a positive posture on your work.
Begin by finding a comfortable but not too relaxed sitting posture and feeling your breath in and out. When disturbed, try to ignore the thoughts that arise in your mind and resume feeling your breath.
The second type of exercise is based on the feeling of compassion, making you feel kindness for your thoughts and being.
As you relax by a breathing exercise, you may strengthen your focus another 10 minutes while visualizing people you admire for their creativity and assimilating this feeling for you.
By following these practices, you will learn how to reappropriate your creative potential and dare to take get back to in your work.
Observing Your Novelty of Thoughts
One of the other problems encountered by creative people is the confusion of their ideas, carried away by the distraction and useless associations of their mental ramblings.
Meditation also seeks to create a state of clarity and deep observation, working on attention that rigorously scrutinizes the flow of one’s thoughts.
Open-monitoring meditation techniques stimulate the formation of divergent thought, putting the mind in a position to increase its openness to experience.
It is about letting all your thoughts, feelings and mentalization express themselves freely, taking a distance as an observer without getting carried away by them. You need to consider closely the sensations that fall on you without judging or holding back but simply noting them.
For 15 minutes, try to settle down comfortably and let all kinds of sensations and thoughts come without prejudging, anticipating, or analyzing them. Think of the sensations as the current of a river that passes without leaving any trace, a flow that keeps changing and letting go.
Thanks to this practice, you stimulate your mind to open up to original ideas that are far removed from your present preoccupations. You will discover the inspiration you are missing!
Training Your Focus to Reach Your Flow
You may know the notion of flow state invented by psychologist Csíkszentmihályiis, describing an optimal experience that increases the productivity at work.
Meditation practices can help to trigger and this state by encouraging prolonged attention to objects.
Several scientific studies show how some types of practices help people stay focused on relatively long and boring tasks.
For example, one experiment invited participants to a meditation retreat where they were confronted with a relatively boring task: a 30-minute computer test where they had to maintain visual attention. They had to keep their focus on the screen for a long time, while they aimed to discern subtle changes in the geometrical display.
It turned out that the participants, through meditation exercises, were better able to discriminate lines from one another and maintain their attention in a state of flow. Meditation allowed them to concentrate for a relatively long time on a very demanding task that is not interesting in itself.
To learn how to get into a state of prolonged attention for creative tasks, you need to work on this ability to maintain a state of flow.
Practice 10 minutes of focused attention meditations before your work by observing deeply an object, an image, or a word and trying to guess all the details.
The more you refine your perception of details, the more you will enter a state of concentration where you will give importance to each element.
Crossing Boundaries with NeuroFeedbacks
One of the results of long-term meditation practice is the ability to appeal to higher states of neural connections, creating bridges between different neural fields.
Experienced practitioners can produce theta and alpha brain waves at will to enter a state of deep relaxation.
Neurofeedback devices can fulfill the same role, allowing you to request in particular lower (theta) or higher frequency (alpha and gamma) waves. Their ability to give you a real-time visualization of your brain condition allows you to take control of it and direct it to the desired state.
Researchers have shown that working on the theta waves just before sleep increases the creativity of artists. Artists through these exercises have greater ease in entering a state of flow, immersing themselves in their work environment and imaginary associations.
It’s about using these devices to help you enter the brain state appropriate to your creative process: a state that makes connections between ideas much easier.
Your turn to use these techniques to find your inner mental creativity!