Where Does Creativity Come From?

A painter begins his painting with a blank canvas and a writer with a blank page, right? Wrong. A painter or writer begins his or her art from within. Even when a painter paints a beautiful scene, or a writer wants to write a story about an outside event, those ideas first resonate with some feelings within. The ideas percolate at a deeper level of the mind until they are ready to flow out onto the blank canvas. The artist brings out the image of inward imaginations, ideas, feelings, music, and songs into the world of creation. Thus, the inner world of consciousness is the source of all creativity.

Creativity, Consciousness and the Blank Canvas of Our Mind

Where in the mind do these creative impulses begin to emerge? There are many levels of our mind.  The surface level of our awareness is filled with our day-to-day thoughts—our to-do lists, dealing with present situations, social interactions. A deeper level contains our quiet observations of what is going on around us. Intuition, feelings, and subtle creative impulses and imaginations reside in an even more profound level of our consciousness. The field of pure silence, or Being, is beyond all these thoughts, feelings, and imaginations. Just like a canvas is a blank space for an artist, silence is the pure blank canvas of everyone.

The blank canvas is an ocean of all possibilities. Anything can be created from the blank canvas of consciousness onto the blank canvas of any field of expression—artistic, athletic, business, etc. There are no limitations to what can be expressed. The more your awareness is open to the unbounded, limitless blank canvas of your mind, the more you can draw upon this field of infinite creativity.

Contact the Field of Infinite Creativity

Meditation is a direct way to contact the silent level of your mind. The technique I have been practicing for 42 years is Transcendental Meditation. Meditation means to think, ponder, and reflect. Transcend means to go beyond. During Transcendental Meditation you go beyond the surface level of the mind until you transcend even the finest thinking level and experience the source of thought.

I did not consider myself a writer or a poet when I first learned to meditate, yet after about a year of practicing Transcendental Meditation, I started hearing melodies in my head, or sometimes words and phrases started bubbling up inside. Suddenly I was writing all these songs and poems. The songs seemed to write themselves, as though I were just a vessel for them to flow through and emerge. My silent awareness started to burst with creativity, with words and rhythms that were embedded in my soul.

[Video 8:42] David Lynch on Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain (Transcendental Meditation)

The great Austrian composer Richard Strauss, famous for his waltzes, discussed how he composed:

Composing is a procedure that is not so readily explained. When the inspiration comes, it is something of so subtle, tenuous, will-o-the-wisp-like nature that it almost defies definition. When in my most inspired moods, I have definite compelling visions, involving a higher selfhood. I feel at such moments that I am tapping the source of Infinite and Eternal energy from which you and I and all things proceed.

Many of the great writers whose works have survived the test of time have had experiences of transcendence and captured those experiences in their writing.

Accessing the deep silence of the mind is a fundamental means for anyone to release his or her inner dormant creativity. The next time you start to compose a song, paint a painting, write prose or poetry, first take the arrow of the surface level of your mind back to the blank canvas within and then let your artistic expression shoot forth onto the blank canvas of your musical score, painting, or composition. The blank canvas ultimately is not blank but filled with infinite possibility.

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