Why you should meditate?
WE ALL HAVE CREATIVITY WITHIN US. IT IS THERE, HIDDEN.
THE CHALLENGE IS TO LET IT EMERGE.
OUR SPECIES WOULD HAVE DISAPPEARED LONG AGO.
The advice the most important, in my opinion, is to trust yourself. Because the brain records all... if you are sending the signal that you are not creative, it will comply with your orders. Creativity is everywhere in nature, as in your mind. It is intrinsic to human beings.
“WE COME FROM THE SEA WHERE ALL LIFE STARTED. MOUNTAINS BECOME SAND FROM THE ACTION OF THE SEA.”
— ANSELM KIEFER
For any artist in his studio or any scientist in his laboratory, it is essential to set the stage for creating a context to encourage creativity and deep thinking. The scene should not just be an adequate space, but also a decor that will enhance your creative mood.
This means being able to have periods of restful silence. No email notifications, no phone. The best approach is to alternate between periods of intense work (focus mode) with periods of relaxation and exercise, or less intense work (diffused mode).
Meditation is a great way to get used to these vital breaks, to connect with oneself and to shut out noise. If you do not have enough time, just close your eyes for two or three minutes, and try not to think about anything; just take a deep breath. These exercises can be learned with daily practice. You can start with one minute and increase it progressively.
You also have the Pomodoro technique. After 25 minutes of intense intellectual work, take a short break of five minutes by doing something else like walking, answering your emails, making phone calls...
You can modify this method; for me, 25 minutes, is sometimes too short, so I work for 60 minutes followed by a longer break, like a 30 minute walk or a Yoga session.
This allows the brain to learn faster. It is often when we stop thinking about the question that the answer comes. The Zen Attitude means staying more in control, making better decisions and being more creative.
"The meditation-and-the-brain research has been rolling in steadily for a number of years now, with new studies coming out just about every week to illustrate some new benefit of meditation. Or, rather, some ancient benefit that is only now being confirmed with MRI or EEG. The practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions. Below are some of the most exciting studies to come out in the last few years and show that meditation really does produce measurable changes in our most important organ. Sceptics, of course, may ask what good are a few brain changes if the psychological effects aren’t simultaneously being illustrated? Luckily, there’s good evidence for those as well, with studies reporting that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, improving attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.
MEDITATION HELPS PRESERVE THE AGEING BRAIN
"A study from UCLA found that long-term meditators had better-preserved brains than non-meditators as they aged. Participants who’d been meditating for an average of 20 years had more grey matter volume throughout the brain — although older meditators still had some volume loss compared to younger meditators, it wasn’t as pronounced as the non-meditators. '“We expected rather small and distinct effects located in some of the regions that had previously been associated with meditating,”' said study author Florian Kurth. '“Instead, what we actually observed was a widespread effect of meditation that encompassed regions throughout the entire brain.”'
MEDITATION REDUCES ACTIVITY IN THE BRAIN’S “ME CENTER”
"One of the most interesting studies in the last few years, carried out at Yale University, found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.” The DMN is “on” or active when we’re not thinking about anything in particular when our minds are just wandering from thought to thought. Since mind-wandering is typically associated with being less happy, ruminating, and worrying about the past and future, it’s the goal for many people to dial it down. Several studies have shown that meditation, through its quieting effect on the DMN, appears to do just this. And even when the mind does start to wander, because of the new connections that form, meditators are better at snapping back out of it."
IT'S EFFECTS RIVAL ANTIDEPRESSANTS FOR DEPRESSION, AND ANXIETY
"A review study at Johns Hopkins looked at the relationship between mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain. Researcher Madhav Goyal and his team found that the effect size of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3, which makes the effect of meditation sound pretty good. Meditation is, after all an active form of brain training. “A lot of people have this idea that meditation means sitting down and doing nothing,” says Goyal. '“But that’s not true. Meditation is an active training of the mind to increase awareness, and different meditation programs approach this in different ways.”' Meditation isn’t a magic bullet for depression, as no treatment is, but it’s one of the tools that may help manage symptoms."
MEDITATION MAY LEAD TO VOLUME CHANGES IN KEY AREAS OF THE BRAIN
"In 2011, Sara Lazar and her team at Harvard found that mindfulness meditation can actually change the structure of the brain: Eight weeks of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was found to increase cortical thickness in the hippocampus, which governs learning and memory, and in certain areas of the brain that play roles in emotion regulation and self-referential processing. There were also decreases in brain cell volume in the amygdala, which is responsible for fear, anxiety, and stress – and these changes matched the participants’ self-reports of their stress levels, indicating that meditation not only changes the brain, but it changes our subjective perception and feelings as well. In fact, a follow-up study by Lazar’s team found that after meditation training, changes in brain areas linked to mood and arousal were also linked to improvements in how participants said they felt — i.e., their psychological well-being. So for anyone who says that activated blobs in the brain don’t necessarily mean anything, our subjective experience – improved mood and well-being – does indeed seem to be shifted through meditation as well."
JUST A FEW DAYS OF TRAINING IMPROVES CONCENTRATION AND ATTENTION
"Having problems concentrating isn’t just a kid thing – it affects millions of grown-ups as well, with an ADD diagnosis or not. Interestingly but not surprisingly, one of the central benefits of meditation is that it improves attention and concentration: One recent study found that just a couple of weeks of meditation training helped people’s focus and memory during the verbal reasoning section of the GRE. In fact, the increase in score was equivalent to 16 percentile points, which is nothing to sneeze at. Since the strong focus of attention (on an object, idea, or activity) is one of the central aims of meditation, it’s not so surprising that meditation should help people’s cognitive skills on the job, too – but it’s nice to have science confirm it."
“SILENT IS SO ACCURATE.”
— MARK ROTHKO
The first responsibility you have is to preserve within yourself a space of freedom... this is the first source of creativity.
Creativity is often the result of these time of solitude. The more you are gifted, the more you will be attentive to the signs during these moments. The best ideas often fuse easily... how many artists or scientists attribute randomness to discoveries? How many writers say that their characters wrote the story... they just followed them. When we listen to some very creative people, we imagine that discoveries come in magical moments for which they have spent little effort, but in fact, it's the result of body and mind being reunited to that helps to find the best answer.
“THEN AT ONE POINT I DID NOT NEED TO TRANSLATE THE NOTES: THEY WENT DIRECTLY TO MY HAND.”
— FRANCESCA WOODMAN
We all have access to these creative sources. Every human being carries the potential of talents, ideas and inventions... the first requirement to be creative is to develop self-confidence and a good mindset. It takes intense moments of reflection (focus mode) and moments where you let go (diffused mode). Answers come more naturally to a prepared mind.
"It is ancient wisdom that ‘as one thinks, so is the world he/she creates’ and the power of mind over matter is well established in science today. Mind is distinct from the brain and is trainable. An untrained mind makes us think and act like a devil (selfishly), whereas a trained mind manifests the qualities of calmness, clarity of thoughts, creativity, innovation, emotional resilience, love, truth, justice, mutuality, equanimity, and selflessness in our behavior. Mindfulness, meditation, consciousness expansion are all mind training tools which help us in developing internal discipline and awakening our higher qualities. Nothing changes externally, but our perception of life changes and we develop the ability to live and work more effectively, efficiently, ethically and explicably. Mindfulness and meditation develop new neural pathways." wrote the mindfulness coach, Sandeep Gupta, in the Harvard Business Review.
Steve Jobs (Apple), Padmasree Warrior (Cisco), Bill Ford (Ford Motors), Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Productions), Ray Dalio (Bridgewater Associates) and many others attribute their success to mindfulness and meditation practices.
So, it's up to you to make meditation a new habit.