Have you ever tried to solve a problem, write something, paint something, you think and think, but nothing comes? Then you take a shower or go for a walk and suddenly, flash, there’s a great idea in your mind? You try to get it down before it goes away and partly succeed? You have had an experience of your higher mind, what yogis call the Buddhi, and it is the place that inspiration comes from. In the Buddhi, ideas are whole, complete, but then they must be filtered through the lower mind which is the place of words so the ideas get chopped up into pieces.
We all have a higher mind and access it all the time whether we know it or not. The trick is being able to call on it at will, to get the idea when you need it. There are ways and, as a practitioner and former teacher of yoga for many decades, i’d like to share a few simple steps to creativity:
1. Get all the data you need for whatever you want to create. When i write magazine articles, this may be pages of technical data. For a novel, i do my research and outline my characters. The idea here is to have the higher mind flow by giving it the tools it needs to build the idea.
2. Do something else. Stop thinking about your project to the extent possible. The ideas may float through your mind. Let them, but go for a walk, take in a movie, have a nap, something. Showers are good, so is driving. Your lower mind will be somewhat involved and get out of the way of the higher mind. As you get better at this technique, the break may be shorter — a trip to the kitchen for a glass of water.
3. With no real expectations, sit in front of your work site — computer, note pad, easel. Gaze at the screen or canvas and watch. Something will flash or float into your mind. It may be words, a way to start the article. It may be dialogue for a book. It may be colors or a motif for a painting. Go with it. It will take you forward.
I have worked with this technique for so long that, once i’m firmly on the right track for a magazine article, i don’t have to do much rewriting. Fiction, of course, is more layered. You come back in waves and add richness and detail.
But try this simple technique and see if it works for you. Let me know.Do you have other techniques for being creative on demand? Share. : )