When you think of the geniuses of history, the people who create art and technology that change our culture for generations, what do you suppose gives them the ability to do so? What sets them apart from other ordinary people? It can’t be genetics since they rarely have others in their family who do the same, and it can’t be mere intelligence or skill, or geniuses would be much more common than they are. Really, it comes down to a much rarer quality—extreme creativity.
Of course, we all have creativity to some extent. We can all use our imaginations to follow a novel’s plot, and we can “think outside the box” enough to come up with solutions to everyday problems. But how do we develop the kind that really makes a difference . . . not just for ourselves, but for everybody? Here’s what I have observed about that and why I think that it can be developed through the practice of meditation.
Creativity Requires a Mental Reset Button
Creative people have the ability to conceive of things in ways that others can’t. If you look at the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, for example, you will easily see that he was not confined by the “correct” way of painting, as other artists would have perceived it at the time. This is true of creativity in any other discipline, too. A scientist must go beyond commonly accepted theories to find a breakthrough, and a poet must go beyond the trends of his or her generation to revolutionize the genre.
This does not mean that these geniuses did not know about their disciplines at the time. Rather, they hold that knowledge while also thinking beyond it. In other words, they can have knowledge and retain the openness of a beginner at the same time. If only we had a kind of reset button, the ability to get back to a “beginner’s mind” unpolluted by preconceptions, we might also be able to access incredible levels of creativity. Fortunately, we already have something that can help us do that—meditation.
Meditation Is a Reset Button
Meditation, by definition, is a way of emptying and quieting the mind. Most techniques focus on watching the busy mind and then slowly working to interrupt the constant barrage of thinking. Usually, we think of this as benefitting our ability focus or reducing the stress that comes with a worried mind. Both of these benefits are real, but why not work for creativity as well when meditating? Meditation provides the perfect opportunity to hit a mental reset button and to return to the zero point in our mental processes of any creative problem we face.
But how do we use it more deliberately for creativity? After all, lots of people meditate who aren’t necessarily turning into creative geniuses. To use meditation more deliberately for this end, I think it is important to focus your meditation in this way, so that you are applying your mental downtime toward a particular problem or creative project. I developed a special LifeParticles meditation just for this purpose.
Why Do I Need LifeParticles?
One unique aspect of this meditation is the use of what I call “LifeParticles,” which could also just be thought of as Qi or Ki energy, the energy or the smallest particles that make up the substance of the universe. When we create anything, we are essentially directing the flow of energy in the direction of our intentions. This is a basic principle of energy that can be summed up in the phrase “where mind goes, energy follows.” So, in addition to emptying the mind as one would in any meditation, you are also directing the flow of energy toward your creative objective through the use of a “MindScreen” where real innovation and insight can happen. Thus, the meditation unites the benefits of meditation with the actual creative act. Here is a simple flow of the meditation that you can start using right away:
Simple Creative Meditation with LifeParticles
1. Assume a Comfortable Position
Assume a comfortable position, either sitting or standing, and begin by gently turning your head from side to side. Continue this turning while you also tap your lower abdomen lightly. This simple movement will relieve the tension from your neck and strengthen the energy center at your lower abdomen. This creates the energetic condition for optimal functioning of your body and brain: Cool Head, Open Chest, and Warm Abdomen.
Breathing slowly and deeply calms your mind and brings your attention to your body. Simply by becoming aware of your breathing, your mind will be present in the now, since breathing is always occurring in the now. Counting your breaths can be helpful because to count your breaths, you need to be aware of your breathing. Count 10 breaths, and your breathing will naturally become deep and slow. Feel the emptiness at the pause between breaths. This will bring a state of relaxed concentration, enabling you to feel the subtle sense of energy.
3. Feel Energy
Slowly raise your hands in front of you, with palms facing each other. Focus on your palms and feel the subtle sense of energy. Remember that what you are feeling between your palms and what you really are, are one and the same—energy, or LifeParticles. The entire universe, at its fundamental level, is made up of the same Energy-Consciousness. On that level of pure being, all are one. Play with the energy by slowly opening and closing your arms. Enhance and expand your sensation of the flow of LifeParticles from your hands to your arms to your whole body. Stay connected with the feeling of the flow.
4. Open Your MindScreen
Maintain the sense of LifeParticles on your hands and raise your hands, palms facing each other, up to the level of your forehead. Visualize a ball of LifeParticles like the sun between your hands. Feel the light and vibration of the Sun of LifeParticles flowing into your brain and spreading down through your spine to your entire body. Expand the Sun of LifeParticles onto a screen. It is your MindScreen. You are now in the creative space of consciousness. Visualize what you want to create on your MindScreen. Use the functions of all your senses. Imagine the sound, smell, and touch of your creation. Feel the tangible feeling of what you are creating by the sense of energy on your hands. It will be like shaping an object using clay or dough. Because your hand and energy work together in resonance, sometimes the distinction disappears, and all becomes one in the harmonious flow of LifeParticles.
For example, your hand moves, following the feeling of the flow of energy—but the movement itself also creates the flow. So sometimes it feels like your hand leads the process, and other times it feels like the energy flow guides your hand movement. During this dynamic exchange, the sense of separation vanishes, and the feeling of creation becomes clearer and more tangible.
5. Offer Your Prayer of Gratitude
Bring your hands together in front of your chest. Offer your gratitude for your creation. Remember how you attained everything that you have now. Having something started from wanting it. Didn’t it? Wanting something is the beginning of the process of having it.
When you want something and you don’t have it, it may be a cause of stress to you. However, if we reflect on how we came to have things that were not there originally, we can be excited, delighted, and grateful that we want something even before we have it. Seen from this perspective, wanting something—or more specifically, being able to want something while it is not there yet—is already a gift in itself.
Making It a Practice
If you really want to reap the benefits of a practice like this, you need to make it a regular practice—daily or even several times a day. This is a simple and easy-to-do meditation once you understand its flow, so why not give it a try? It only takes 5-10 minutes to do. I also created the LifeParticle Card, which might help you, and you can read more about it in my books LifeParticle Meditation: A Practical Guide to Healing and Transformation and Change: Realizing Your Greatest Potential, too.