I recently was asked to look into the links between meditation and creativity for an article in Spirituality & Health Magazine and thought I’d share here.
As the number of studies looking at the health and cognitive impacts of meditation keeps increasing, there have been a few very small studies looking at the effect of meditation practices on creativity. An interesting study amongst nineteen healthy adults in Netherlands published in 2012 compared the impact of focused-attention (FA) meditation and open-monitoring (OM) meditation on creativity tasks.
Researchers found that OM styles of meditation, where meditators sustained a receptive, open awareness, promoted divergent ways of thinking more so than FA styles of meditation with a single-pointed focus of concentration. Divergent thinking refers to the generation of many new kinds of ideas and can be a key aspect of creativity.
Another beautiful reminder that when we intentionally pay attention to present moment experience with kind curiosity and patience, we create the space to connect with our innate strengths, including creativity. When we can bring a loving mindful presence to whatever it is we are doing, we naturally create the conditions necessary for innate creative intelligence to flow through us.
Looking for a quick creative boost in the middle of your day? Consider trying this open-monitoring style of meditation known as The Sky of Awareness, and if you already have an established practice of focused-attention meditation, consider integrating something like this towards the end of your sitting to just explore what arises. Enjoy -
Rashmi S. Bismark
I'm a preventive medicine physician specialized in mindfulness, lifestyle, and community health. I'm a yoga teacher, an educator, a researcher, a devoted mom and expatriate wife, living a blessed global nomad life.