By studying the effects of meditation psychologists at Leiden University found that meditation can improve creativity. That is something that many people whose lives center on the creative process already know through their own experience.
Artists Speak about Meditation and Creativity
One creative individual found that the qualities that meditation brings forth had profound effects on his creativity. Every day creative business coach Mark McGuiness meditates for 20 minutes before he starts his work, focusing on his breathing. He has found that the increased focus, patience, calmness, clarity, insight, and perspective that come from a regular meditation practice noticeably improve his creative process.
A writer eloquently expressed the effect of meditation on creativity this way. “The habit of meditation helps reduce the anxiety we can experience easily in the raw, vulnerable, and really childlike state of mind that is creativity, so that we can take ourselves down a notch, when needed. This allows the insight to come into conscious thought without totally sweeping us away into frenetic and fruitless mental activity.”
In emphasizing the role of observation in creativity, another writer expressed that meditation reduced the distractions from her own thoughts and misconceptions, allowing her to see the world as it really is more clearly. Blogger Branain Radcliffe put it this way: “Meditation strips away the layers that block you from seeing the world clearly. If you are an artist, the world is your source of ideas (ultimately), so being able to access it more clearly is crucial. Meditation connects you into the world without dirt on your sensory plugs.”
A musician added this comment to the discussion on meditation and creativity: “I am having amazing changes in my creativity since started meditating 9 years ago. I can feel it in my guitar playing the most.”
How Meditation Benefits Creativity
While meditation has benefits for everyone, creative sorts cite specific ways in which meditation boosts their creativity.
- Increases self-confidence. Artists who lack self-confidence get in their own way. Through non-judgment meditation clears the way for the creative process.
- Eases artistic anxiety. Being creative is a risky enterprise. By creating a safe space within, meditation provides a platform from which to takes risks.
- Allows you to be yourself. Meditation puts you in touch with your true and authentic self, which is what makes each person unique. Knowing the true self makes it possible to express that self in creative ways.
- Makes you less vulnerable. Artists open themselves up to the criticism of others when they show their work. Because it puts them in touch with what matters to them, meditation makes artists less vulnerable to other people’s critiques, whether positive or negative.
- Fosters kindness to yourself. Sometimes the creative juices flow and sometimes they don’t. Being hard on yourself makes it even harder to connect with your creativity. Meditation makes you kinder to yourself (and others).
- Changes brain activity. Studies show that meditation increases brain activity in the areas of the brain that are associated with creativity.
- Keeps the world at bay. Through its focus on the moment meditation increases concentration and makes the artist less susceptible to the distractions of the mundane world.
Creativity is Not the Goal
While meditation can surely help unlock writer’s block and increase a flow of ideas for music and painting, in its essence meditation is purposeless. Artists who begin a practice of meditation for the express purpose of enhancing their creativity may find that their lives change in ways they never expected. And there is nothing more creative than that!
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