Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Creativity and meditation

You know, I have actually had people tell me that they think meditation could be an obstacle to creativity because they think creativity requires a person to be angry or depressed or anguished. Today I found a meditation blog that speaks to the way meditation enhances creativity. First the writer tells this Zen story:
“What are you doing?” Dongshan asked.
“I’m mending clothes.”
“How do you do that?“
“One stitch is like the next,” said Shenshan.
“What, after twenty years of practice – that’s all you can say?” said Dongshan.
Shenshan put down his needle and turned to his companion. “Well then tell me. How do you sew?”
“As though the entire earth were spewing flames,” said Dongshan.
It reminds me of the teaching that we should meditate as if our hair were on fire. It reminds me how one of the Desert Fathers said that if we wished we could become "all flame" !

Then the blog owner says the following:
Here are 3 states of mind that we can cultivate through meditation. Each one fosters creativity:

1. Letting go of the ‘me, mine, myself’ mind-tape
In order to do something ‘as if the whole earth were spewing flames’, we need to dive completely into the action and forget ourselves in the process.

2. Being kind to ourselves
A kindly attitude allows us to experiment with failure without our grumpy inner editor ripping us to shreds.

3. Stilling the mind
A mind cluttered with thoughts lacks the spaciousness needed for creativity. It helps to be still for a few minutes before starting a creative endeavor. The easiest way to still the mind is to pay tender regard to the breath, or to listen to sounds. When we start the creative process from this point of stillness, ideas flow naturally and freely.
So there are more benefits to meditation than just lowering the blood pressure or reducing stress. But those who meditate regularly already know this.

Never give up!


  1. When I read that first story, I, too immediately thought of the Desert Father holding up his hands and saying be all flame! How I wish.

  2. I happy that you found my post on meditation and creativity! I wonder if one of you could tell me the reference to the story of the Desert Father who said, "Be all flame!" or post a comment about it on my blog.

    Mary Jaksch

  3. Hi, Mary. Thanks for visiting. Here's the story:

    Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, 'Abba as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else an I do?' then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards eaven. His fingers became like ten
    lamps of fire and he said to im, 'If you will, you can become all flame.'
    An "office", by the way, is a prayer service.

    You can find the story right here:

    Flame story


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