This one’s for anybody who likes to have fun, feel relaxed, make things happen, go with the flow.
ANd there’s a meditation for the right-brain and creativity.
It’s about letting your right-brain drive the mindbus.
Even if you’ve never ever considered yourself a “creative type” you can still do creative things, right? Why not– it’s fun and it’s also very healthy.
Creativity can be a superpower spiritual practice and as such, can be a break from the rigor of your normal spiritual practice, if you have one.
Creativity is currently my meditation practice’s best friend. They might even be lovers! But these two haven’t always been so warm and fuzzy.
Years ago, I separated them into corners like to siblings who were bruising one another up. More about this later.
The phrase “Creative Spiritual Practice” sounds stiff– like starched collars buttoned to the neck. I’m not talking formality and rigor here, but the opposite.
Creativity doesn’t have to mean drawing a picture, writing a story, creating a hot new dance move or sitting down with an arts and crafts project. You don’t have to buy coloring books, pipe cleaners and glue– though you’re certainly free to if those things tickle your fancy.
This is the thing >> Even just doodling random shapes on a post it is creative and way healthier than many of us realize. And therefore more important than many of us realize. And >> Who cares if you toss the post it in the recycling basket as soon as you lay down your ballpoint pen?
All that matters with creativity is that your right brain gets to drive your mind bus — which means your mind gets to experience some open road and your thoughts some free flow because your right brain is way less logical, performance-driven and result-oriented.
Your right brain might have a creative destination in mind in the form of an idea it would like to reach / create. But how you reach your destination / result– or whether you reach anything tangible at all is of no consequence to your right brain + your overall mental state benefits from the vacation freedom.
And feeling awesome is the whole point, right? The whole point.
Imagine your mind is like a water tap. Just take a deep inhale and as you exhale, feel your body soften and relax.
With this relaxation, allow that water tap to open and begin to flow. Just notice what comes out. Watch the objects– thoughts, memories, feelings, words, whatever they are, just watch them flow as if they’re carried by a current.
At first, things might be muddy, meaning you might not be able to distinguish the flowing forms on the surface of your mind as well as the deeper muck below. Again, no biggie.
Right brain just says, “Cooool man, abstract art!” Or maybe you do recognize what comes out and it’s a bit < icky> the mental version of something that might belch out of a newborn’s mouth. (Ew.) Keep flowing, baby gets better.
Then pick up a pen, crayon, or just open your keyboard and begin to type. Or maybe you open voice notes and begin dictation. Or maybe you record your voice as audio. Or maybe you just start speaking and make no record whatsoever of what you say. Maybe you start to move spontaneously as you speak. Whatever, dude. Let it flow.
Capturing your output matters way less. What matters is the right brain is having a ball driving your mind bus and that you’ve hit the open road without a mind map.
Your left brain– which is more a product of culture and upbringing, and tends to think in judgments and analysis– will likely pipe up as a backseat driver, leaning in to the right brain’s ear to chatter, to say “you’re going the wrong way, not driving correctly and that we’ll surely get lost!” Oh no! Getting LOST!
Your right brain is a gambler, a rogue, and a wise, crazy warrior! It knows that getting lost is fun and something new is always learned from getting lost.
Creativity is quite like a flowing water tap – – refreshing, cleansing and pleasurable. But unlike a water tap, you don’t have to worry about conservation. The longer your creativity flows, the more pure and more plentiful it becomes.
My favorite creative outlet for the last year or two has been taking photos with my iPhone. This is significant, because for years, in my late 20s and 30s, I stopped taking photos altogether.
One evening at a dinner party, I found myself pulling out my camera (I liked polaroids and Super-8 film) and suddenly realized that I was being separated from the situation. I could actually feel the energetic cutoff between myself and the moment with my friends.
I realized that capturing the experience was actually taking the place of the experience itself and I was REALLY turned off by that.
A few weeks later, I accidentally dropped my camera into a river as I was trying to capture a shot of my friends swimming. I took that as a sign. I stopped taking photos.
“I’ll take psychological pictures,” I said. And I did.
I started learning what it really meant to be present and to fully LIVE a beautiful moment to the fullest rather than stop the moment in order to capture it. This was the 90’s. I lived in Eastern Europe and New Orleans during those years– two great places to be fully present in at the time. When phones first started to come with cameras I laughed at the absurdity, like fusing an apple into an orange.
Eventually, I started taking pictures occasionally. Of the beautiful moments that I really did want to capture. I was choosy. I no longer NEEDED to capture a shot.
Then years later, I found myself behind my little (phone) camera in a new way. I had changed. I was ready to take photos that actually made me more mindful and present rather than less. I had learned how to stay present AND take a photo.
How to practice spiritually and creatively alongside as one practice. In fact, this balance between detaching from the situation enough to SEE it in a new way, to capture something otherwise unseen, while also staying connected to the situation is part of the art for me.
I am forever thirsty for this magical, golden balance and I feel very alive as I walk the tightrope to find it.