Mindful Creative Process

1️⃣ Explore

  • Have an open mind – without it, we'll be stuck in the same old pattern.

  • Be curious, and question all beliefs and assumptions.

  • Go out of the comfort-zone. Don't be afraid to break any barriers.

  • Gather a broad range of information, ideas and understanding.

2️⃣ Analyze

Deliberate thinking:

  • If the problem is simple enough, this might work. As it uses serial mode of thinking (one thing at a time), it may not be sufficient for complex issues. Because our brain can only hold a certain amount of data in the working memory at time to analyze.

  • This can be extended using external tools such as: making lists and tables, creating appropriate categories* and hierarchies, and drawing appropriate diagrams – about its states, sequence, flow, activity, etc.

Writing:

  • Writing (especially for others) often reveals the problems clearly, and generates creative understanding and expression.

  • Writing is a natural and powerful way of utilizing deliberate thinking and external tools.

Discussing:

  • Talking to someone can create clarity and understanding. (A deep, sincere and non-judgmental listening is one of the greatest gifts that we can offer to others.)

  • Discussing and brainstorming.

To think "outside the box", some tips:

  • Make it as someone's problem – and give advice.

  • Look at the problem different angles and perspectives: reverse the problem; turn the problem upside down.

  • Study the problem, not the solution – ask proper questions.

  • Ask or discuss with a stranger – from a different field or area of expertise.

  • Ask a child – sometimes the child's unconventional way of thinking may help.

3️⃣ Focus

  • If the problem is complex enough, we may need to spend enough amount of time on that field – so the brain has enough time to gather, store, consolidate and analyze.

  • Without focus, mindfulness and presence of mind, nothing can be accomplished.

4️⃣ Let go

  • This is like an incubation period. Let go of all thinking; don't stand in the way of deep, parallel, unconscious processing of the brain.

  • Thinking constantly or forcefully does not give any space for the brain to function properly. If the mind works constantly, there is no possibility of inspirations or insights. "If you want wisdom, empty your mind." – Lao-Tzu

  • If we are busy and stressful, the brain cannot function optimally. Stress and busyness kill creativity.

  • Calm, peaceful, joyful and playful mind is the key to clarity, understanding, insight and creativity.

5️⃣ Wait

  • Spark of inspiration or deep insight often reveals itself to us – sometimes clearly, other times as a gut feeling and intuition.

  • It may reveal itself as a vision, or in a dream, or an internal voice**. It may reveal itself through writing (poetry), music or art.

  • Wait, have patience.

6️⃣ Follow-through

  • Don't just blindly trust the gut feeling or intuition, but try to understand it clearly.

  • Follow through with proper reasoning and analysis on a clear logical ground.


Creativity cannot be forced. It comes from a relaxed, chilled-out mind. But, such a relaxed and cool mind cannot be forced. It takes proper practice and cultivation.

— —

CK. Kamaraj

12 December 2020

Notes:

* Buddha encouraged questioning and analysis. He considered identifying and placing things and events in their proper category would lead to better clarity. He also recognized that some questions might be poorly phrased that it would need to be properly rephrased; some questions might deserve counter questions to clarify and expose any confused line of thinking or hidden agenda; and some questions might be so misguided that it would better be put aside.

** Socrates had some sort of internal voice that guided him whenever something or some action was not quite right. Perhaps this may not be confused with auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) that may occur when someone has Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.