Another Path Towards Creativity

“We are who we think we are”

“There is no greater enemy in your life than your own thoughts”

These statements come from Buddhist Philosophy and I see them as some of the greatest truths.  Following this practice is very much to do with being aware of yourself, your thoughts and how they can be a good or a bad influence on your life.  The study and its practice teaches awareness, compassion and equanimity.

The statements are easily applicable to the need or search for Creativity. Having trouble with finding or being creative is rooted in, fear, distraction, lack of motivation, handicap of personal obligations and self-applied rules.  All these limitations and emotions are rooted in our own thoughts about ourselves and, therefore, how we live our lives.

You may not be inclined to explore further in this philosophy but I think the statements are indisputable.  Even if you look outside of yourself and find other reasons for your conclusions about your emotions and/or limitations, you still, at one time,  accepted those outside influences and made them part of your repertoire of thoughts, behavior and perception.

So, if you are convinced of the truth of these statements you have to accept your own self-imposed limitations and behaviors.  This is GOOD NEWS.  You know who is responsible and taking that responsibility is the first step to change!

Here are just a few suggestions:

Surround yourself in inspiration – a forest, a beach, a mountain, a garden, a religious service, a good book, a museum, study.   Find your place that positively feeds your senses.

Find and Feed your Passion. Read about it, visit centers, museums showing works of people who have succeeded in their passion. Examine, explore. Read biographies for inspiration.

Be around inspiring people.  If there is someone or maybe even more than one person who you find a drag or a negative influence to your life, reject and stay away from them.  If this does not seem possible to you, just realize their influence, personally reject it and plan for a future where you know you will not be influenced by them.  Find like-minded people and exchange ideas. Make this part of your mission.

Visualize how you will feel when you reach your goals.  This is part of the work of Becoming.

Do the Work.

Replace the rules you have set for yourself, your habits, your routine.  Reject procrastination as your worse enemy.

Write your own Mission Statement:  This is your step towards self-awareness.  Be as creative you can be about where you are and where you would prefer to be.  It may seem far out and challenging at first because your habitual thoughts, rules and self-limitations will try to sneak in and may tell you to be ‘reasonable’.  But take over, don’t be in the least bit ‘reasonable’ and allow yourself the freedom to dream.

Creativity – An Inward Approach

Ideas to attain an attitude of creativity

I have read that artists can be seen as aloof, independent, odd, even arrogant.  I am not sure I totally agree but I think these observations could offer some insight into attaining a state of creativity.

AN INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITY

Creativity is an individual endeavor.  I have experienced brainstorming sessions where like-minded people build on each other’s ideas.  This can be a really inspiring experience.  But, for long-term, attitude changing, intentional strives towards being creative we need to depend upon our own, internal thoughts and imagination.   We need to give them space in our daily lives and in our practices. If you need the company and approval of others, if you crave adulation and look outside of yourself for fulfillment, I think it will be challenging to guide yourself to a creative mode of thinking.  If you live with a person or people who constantly demand your attention and make their needs your focus, this too would be a handicap to sustainable creativity. A creative mode is a state of mind where the exchange is between the creator and the inspirational thought and/or the process of creating.  Not that we cannot be inspired by what someone else says or a scene, a situation we can observe.  But to cultivate creativity as an attitude we need to have an inner dialog.  I like to study the Dharma or Buddhist Philosophy.  Somewhere in those teachings I remember reading that the mind can only think of one thing at a time.  It can wander from one idea to another and sometimes those thoughts can be totally unrelated.  But it is still only one thought at a time.  That’s why I liken the state of creativity to meditation.  Anybody who is in daily pursuit to create something can attest that time and surroundings will disappear. To purposefully meditate we attempt to clear the mind and have no thoughts, or meditate on one idea or concern.  Otherwise we have to deal with the ‘monkey-mind’ which takes you on a mental journey of mixed thoughts, which is not necessarily one you would choose to take and can be unproductive.  From this idea we can assume that we are not really in control of our own thoughts. Sometimes we need to reel them in and discipline them.   This needs a lot of practice!  But it is attainable and, over time, we can learn to get into a meditative state of mind quite quickly.  And yes, we can choose our thoughts and judgements.  If meditation is not for you, just learning to relax and be alone with your own thoughts is still a good source of inspiration and a habit to cultivate.  Take a walk on the woods, the beach, your neighborhood.  Be aware of your surroundings, the sounds, the sights, a breeze, fragrances.  But be aware of yourself within that environment, be aware of your heart beat your breath, thoughts and how they make you feel.   Do you have a slight smile or are you frowning. Don’t allow your awareness to take you away from your surroundings.  But remember, we are cultivating an attitude.  Don’t frustrate yourself with the self-defeating intention to get an inspiration during one session of being with yourself.

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

WRITE YOUR IDEAS

Thoughts and ideas can be so fleeting.  Get into the habit of writing them down.  Keep a notebook close by.  Any observation, insights, thoughts, dreams are worth noting.  Any image is worth drawing.  Your notes and doodling become reminders of fleeting, inspirational thoughts.  Don’t judge or question those thoughts.  Your thoughts may seem to have nothing to do with the creative process, but you are giving yourself permission, you are making your thoughts noteworthy and, when you review or re-read, the note could prompt a thought you may judge as more inspirational.  The goal is to start the communion with yourself, giving yourself permission and worthiness.

Please, if any of this strikes a cord in you, please leave your comments and please subscribe to my musings.