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.
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.
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