5 Ways Meditation Enhances Creativity
Learn these 5 ways meditation enhances creativity and imagination in order to amplify your life.
Regular meditators are some of the most creative people I know.
First, it’s important to know that there is scientific proof that there is a link between a quiet mind and creativity. Many note-worthy scientific studies show that meditation enhances creativity. For example, a 2012 UCLA study showed that meditation helps us become the best version of ourselves. Similarly, a study by Dutch researchers (Colzato et al) found that meditation stimulated crucial drivers of creativity.
CEOs regularly cite creativity and innovation skills as their top desires when selecting leaders.
Corporate America is learning that investing in a quiet mind enhances creativity in the workplace. Companies including Disney, Google, Medtronic, Goldman Sachs, Apple, and Nike offer meditation courses to their associates. Meditation courses help leaders and teams unlock a wide range of benefits. Not only stress relief, but also greater access to intuition and imagination, more innovation, more creative ideas, greater access to problem-solving, and more freedom to think broadly, to name a few.
Would you like to understand how meditation enhances creativity? Here are five ways.
1.) Meditation Gives your Inner Critic a Rest
Adults do too much ruminative thinking. This judgmental and self-critical type of thinking sabotages your creativity. This is because it can suppress or hinder creative ideas before they even get a chance to be fleshed out.
Neuroscience research confirms that meditation helps to quell that critical inner voice. When you learn to suspend judgment of what you create, you begin to create more freely.
In all my work coaching senior business leaders over the years, I have found that this critical inner voice is alive and well in everyone.
Even for the most outwardly successful people, it’s there. Many know this as imposter syndrome. Your inner judge tells you that you are posing as a fraud. For example, your critic may tell you that you are not good enough, regardless of your achievements.
Meditation trains your brain to stop ruminating in this judgmental way.
Recurring negative thoughts not only decrease self-esteem but can also lead to burnout. One of the most beneficial practices for creative people is to simply notice and acknowledge negative and distracting thoughts. And then, let them go. For example, you can say; ‘oh there goes my inner critic again.’ And then just allow the thought to dissipate.
Meditation practice helps you catch and then reframe negative thought patterns. As a result, this makes for improved well-being and a greater focus on creative thinking.
2.) Meditation Enables Creative Thought Habits
Have you ever noticed that your best creative ideas seem to come when you have stepped away from the outside world? When your mind moves away from routine thought habits?
For instance, you might be humming in the shower, taking a walk, or daydreaming at your desk when the a-ha moment arrives and you have an answer you’ve been seeking.
“Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.” – Eckhart Tolle
Like meditation, accessing creativity is a journey within.
When the mind is distracted or under pressure, creativity can be restricted. Meditation relaxes the mind so it can flow more naturally and freely. We all know well the allure of ‘device distraction’ and how spending too much time looking at our phones can dull our creativity. A 2022 survey illustrates this. It showed that on average, Americans spend almost three hours on their phones each day.
One researcher calls this ‘polyconsciousness’, defined as a state of mind where attention is divided between the physical world and our devices.
More people than ever are interested in meditation.
Having a quieter mind allows you to carve out your own consciousness and mental space. We all have this skill. And, as humans, we make hundreds of choices every day. We can choose to direct our attention where we wish.
Many executives start to meditate because they find it helps them switch gears when stress piles up. That’s exactly why I started meditating over 25 years ago. Furthermore, I found through my own experience that meditation boosts resilience, enables me to mitigate stress, and makes accessing creativity easier.
3.) Mindfulness is an Essential Creativity Skill
One skill that meditators develop is the ability to bring attention to the present moment. If you want something to grow in your life, you give it your attention. Meditators learn to deeply notice this moment. Not the past or the future. Now. This moment. I love the book The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker and recommend you read it.
When you learn to pay mindful attention in meditation, that skill translates beautifully to developing your creativity whether you are a visual artist or doing any other creative activity.
Rob Walker talks about giving his students assignments on paying attention and how being a ‘first-class noticer’ can reveal all kinds of creative inspiration and help you experience enchanting reality. Across all creative disciplines, you can find examples of the benefits of developing noticing skills.
If you were to enroll in art or design college, this is one of the foundational lessons you would have; to see the world in this fresh way. This is why forward-thinking companies have started to engage their associates in developing their creative, noticing skills. This helps executives to think in more innovative ways.
4.) Meditation Enhances Divergent Thinking
In his book Mindfulness for Creativity, Danny Penman explains that mindfulness switches on our capacity for divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking happens when you imagine new, original ideas. These rough ideas may come from your subconscious which is why states like meditation and daydreaming are so productive.
When you were five years old, you had an abundance of divergent thinking capabilities. However, as you progressed through school, you learned new thought habits. You learned to critique and judge ideas.
When this happens, the judgmental and critical part of your brain can squelch new original ideas before they even have a chance to be fleshed out.
As we learn to excel at convergent thinking–or the ability to focus and hone our thoughts–we squash or suppress our instinct for divergent, or generative, thought.
The 5-year-old in us never goes away, though and we can reclaim some of the creative genii we had.
We dive deeply into this in my Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation course.
You learn ways to foster both divergent and convergent thinking processes. This allows for your best ideas to see the light of day.
5.) Meditation Connects you to Your Intuition
You know what intuition is. It’s an inner hunch; a clear knowing; a feeling in your gut that suddenly comes to you.
It’s that Eureka moment when a solution or new idea happens instantaneously where you wonder; where did this come from?
Your creative intuition is an ability you can grow and strengthen through meditation.
Tapping into your inner intelligence is like having a secret weapon.
One way to cultivate greater intuition is to practice meditation.
In filmmaker, David Lynch’s book, Catching the Big Fish Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, he talks about tapping into the ocean of pure, vibrant consciousness within each of us.
The title refers to Lynch’s idea that “ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. To catch big fish, you’ve got to go deeper”.
To Lynch, going deeper means experiencing a more expanded state of consciousness that connects to the deepest part of our inner knowing.
Lynch describes his own story in his book. When he started meditation, he felt a “weight lifted” and fear and negativity dissolved. He explains how his imagination was set free through meditation.
Deepak Chopra often teaches us that creativity is a birthright of being human; it is a natural quality of human life. In the same way, every cell in your body creatively adapts to maintain balance, we can harness that skill of meeting each moment with freshness and creativity.
Remember: Creativity isn’t reserved for certain people who are more inspired or unique, it’s in us all just waiting for a chance to come out.
To learn more, check out my course Creativity, Imagination, and Innovation.
Watch my YouTube video; What does Creativity Mean?
Take my Creativity Survey
Sign up for my Free Creativity Webinar
View my YouTube video; Are You Living Up to Your Creative Potential?
Watch my YouTube video; Play Teaches You to Be More Creative
See my YouTube video; Improve Your Innovation Skills
My YouTube video; Say Yes to New Experiences
Watch my YouTube video explaining the courses I teach.
To learn more about Chakras read the Blog below:
Practice gentle chakra tuning
Interested in the Universal Laws? The Blogs for each of the 12 Laws are found below:
1. Divine Oneness here.
3. Correspondence here.
4. Attraction here.
5. Inspired Action here.
6. Perpetual Transmutation of Energy here.
7. Cause and Effect here.
8. Compensation here.
9. Relativity here.
10. Polarity here.
11. Rhythm here.
12. Gender here
Find out more about Jane Ramsey