My relationship with meditation has been a lengthy affair. I’ve experimented with styles, read books about different methods, and listened to guided recordings. Recently I had a revelation that has (finally) made meditation part of my daily routine.
When I look back at the intensely creative times of my life; when ideas, synchronicities and opportunities met me at every turn, there is a common denominator: I was meditating consistently. By taking the time to get quiet and center myself, I opened my creative flow to inspiration and possibility.
Sometimes when I am heavily involved in a project, I avoid extraneous activities because I want to focus on getting things done. By ignoring self-care, or rushing past the things that make me feel good (getting out in nature, taking that long bike ride, meditating in the morning), I slowly drain myself of creative flow until it has no choice but to give up on me. Then I have to recharge the batteries, which takes much longer when they are completely fried than if I had done some maintenance along the way.
My mind is very busy, and convincing it to be quiet and listen, rather than direct my mind, was challenging. Judging thoughts can sabotage my creativity and self-esteem. My agenda can get in the way of my concentration. When I meditate, I’m able to calm the distractions of schedule, doubt, and deadline. Irritations become insignificant. I feel centered and in control of my day. Best of all, I open myself to my true voice: the creative soul who has much to share with the world.
Meditation can be practiced with structure or without. The point is to get quiet, take your focus off of your mind-chatter, and tap into the immense inner world of consciousness. You don’t “have” to be in lotus position, or burn candles and incense; there are no “shoulds” for what feels right for you. Sitting with your eyes closed is enough; ten or twenty minutes is enough. It may take a few tries to turn off your brain-speak. Disengaging from your to-dos and social schedule requires practice. But you’ll soon find the calm place where your soul and creativity reside.
Last week in my post about the David Lynch Foundation I mentioned David’s secret for finding new ideas. In his book Catching the Big Fish, he reveals how meditation has provided him with a constant stream of images, ideas and insights which fuel his art. I have found the same wealth of inspiration when I meditate. It’s not something that always occurs during the actual meditation; often the perfect inspiration or solution pops into my head later in the day. You have to let go and let the process work for you. Freeing your mind to whatever may happen during the meditation is key to opening the creative channels; pushing for answers or trying to guide your consciousness is contrary to the process. You have to be willing to trust it, and yourself, for whatever the universe has to show you that day.
David Lynch refers to the flow of inspiration during his meditations as “money in the bank.” For professional artists who must create consistently, the ability to “fish” in the creative consciousness and restock the pond of ideas to work with is invaluable. No matter what creative medium you use, meditation provides a way to connect with your inner self, the authentic you, in an uninhibited space. By disconnecting from the often-deceptive chatter of the mind, you create a place where your creative self can interact with its larger counterpart; the collective consciousness. When you give your inner self a dedicated time to roam freely in the collective consciousness, it always returns with gifts of purpose, light, and love.