Creative Meditation / by Marco Secchi

I have blogged before about cretive bock or self confidence crisis.....and If you depend on your creativity for your living, then your most valuable piece of equipment is not your computer, smartphone, camera, or any other hi-tech gadget. “In a modern company 70 to 80 percent of what people do is now done by way of their intellects. The critical means of production is small, gray, and weighs around 1.3 kilograms. It is the human brain.”

VENICE, ITALY - JUNE 21:  Whirling Dervishes of the Galata Mevlevi Ensemble,declared UNESCO World Heritage, perfom under the guidance of Sheikh Nail Kesova at Auditorium Candiani on June 21, 2011 in Venice, Italy. The whirling dance associated with Dervishes, is the practice of the Mevlevi Order in Turkey, and is part of a formal ceremony known as the Sema which is only one of the many Sufi ceremonies performed to try to reach religious ecstasy (Marco Secchi)

So what are you doing to maintain this precious resource? You probably give it plenty of stimulation – books, movies, music, nights out, interesting conversations with offbeat people.

What works for me is daily meditation. Every morning or early afternoon I spend 20 minutes sitting on a mat, focusing on the sensation of breathing, doing my best to be present and aware, and trying not to get tangled up in my thoughts. It makes all the difference for the rest of the day. And I’m convinced it makes me a better visual artist. I also listen every day to meditation music from my iPhone while I am moving around or shooting.

Meditation is a doorway between our inner and outer worlds. Between “reality” (the seemingly solid world that we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch) and an elusive “something else” we sense beneath, between and beyond what those five senses can grasp.

Meditation offers enormous benefits for everyone, and a set of particular benefits for those who are engaged in a creative activity like writing.

Focus. Concentration is essential to outstanding creative execution and performance. The simple act of focusing on your breathing day after day, will gradually improve your powers of concentration.

Patience. Meditation can be incredibly boring. For once in your life, you’re not trying to do anything or think anything, just sit there and pay attention to your immediate experience. And you will encounter all kinds of resistance to doing it. Zen priest Steve Hagen says, “If you can get past resistance to meditation, nothing else in life will be an obstacle.”

Calmness. At first, you’ll be surprised, maybe even horrified, to discover how busy your mind is – a non-stop stream of mental chatter. But if you stay with it, you should gradually find that your mind settles down as the months go by.

Clarity. Like calmness, this can be gradual and intermittent to begin with. But you are likely to notice moments and even periods of mental clarity, when you see things clearly and your mind is sharper than usual – which makes problem-solving and decision-making easier.

Creates conditions for Insight. You’ve probably had the experience of suddenly realizing the solution to a problem, even though you haven’t been consciously thinking of it. Or you may have experienced a moment of inspiration, when a new idea flashes into your mind unbidden. If you’re practicing meditation regularly, expect this to happen more often.

Perspective. When you spend time just being present and observing your breath, thoughts, feelings, and moment-to-moment experience, you start to realize how trivial most of our daily worries really are. Even in the midst of the daily grind, you can let go of the small stuff, and keep the big picture in view.

Getting Started

The kind of meditation I practice is a mixture of concentration (Samatha) and insight (Vipassana). Samatha practice is simply about focusing on your breathing, in order to develop concentration and calmness. It’s the best place to start, given how busy and unfocused our minds typically are. Vipassana is so simple it almost sounds like doing nothing at all – it’s about being very aware and present to your immediate experience, noticing your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the sounds and sights around you.

To learn how to get started, read the Introduction to Insight Meditation by the monks at Amaravati monastery.

Or you can try to listen to one of the Mantra and chant, The one below is westernized and commercialed version but the traditional has been one of my favorites for a long time, Here