You may already be meditating and not know it.
Ever puzzled over a problem in a creative project only to get zapped by the perfect solution hours later while in the shower, walking the dog, or in the middle of the night? Inspiration can be elusive, but some meditative practices help creatives harness the muse.
If you’ve tried meditation before or, like most of us, keep meaning to but never quite get around to it, there’s good news. Studies show that you don’t need to be an expert meditator or even stop moving to see the benefits of meditation on your creativity. You also don’t need to concentrate deeply, which is great news for anyone who struggles to focus.
In fact, you may already be meditating and not realize it. Even the aforementioned daily activities—showering, walking the dog, and sleeping—contain meditative components that, with intention, can lead to increased creativity. Read on to discover how:
Open Monitoring Meditation: Showering is one of many mindless activities we do regularly. We don’t have to focus to perform the task correctly. Instead, we let our attention wander in a state of easy, open awareness, a technique known as Open Monitoring Meditation or OM. Ironically, when we release our focus, our brains form fresh connections.
The next step: You don’t have to run up your water bill for inspiration to strike. Many creatives already have daily practices that mimic OM, like free writing and sketching. Take your practice deeper by engaging in a kind of intuitive listening. Observe and record your thoughts, emotions, images, surroundings, and ideas without judgment. Similar techniques have been used by artists from DaVinci to Frida Kahlo.
Walking has been believed to boost creativity since the days of Aristotle, and scientists have long known that exercise is good for the brain. Now studies show that walking also increases creative output by as much as sixty percent. Authors J.K. Rowling and L.M. Montgomery credit walking with curing writer’s block.
The next step: If you don’t have a dog to walk, no sweat. Any body movement done with mindful intention can become a meditation. Traditional movement practices include walking, qigong, tai chi, and yoga, but even running or kayaking work. Take a mindful approach to activities you already enjoy, noting your surroundings, breath, and bodily sensations. Allow yourself to be drawn fully into the moment.
Yoga Nidra: Insomnia is a common complaint of artists from Beyonce to Collette, which is unfortunate since sleep has been shown to foster creativity. This may be why, ironically, so many of our best ideas occur in the middle of the night. Salvador Dali, John Lennon, and E.B. White all grew inspiration from their dreams.
The next step: If you struggle with getting seven hours or more of sleep each night, take heart. Studies show that even napping or dozing can help improve your overall well-being and creativity. Unable to fall asleep in the middle of the day? Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation that leads participants into a state between sleeping and wakefulness, known for sparking creative insight and improving nighttime sleep.
Whether you’re a longtime meditator or struggle with ‘monkey mind’, these meditation practices can be incorporated seamlessly into your daily life, improving your well-being and making you a stronger creative. Still need some place to start? Download my free Yoga Nidra recording for creatives today.