I know, I know, I’m like a thousand years late to the party.
I had resisted actively meditating for the longest time.
Look. I grew up shooting crawdads on a rice farm. I may have all the outward appearance of a hippieish liberal coastal elite but on the inside I’m pretty innately suspicious of things that, in rural California, we call “a little woo-woo.”
But my previous employer offered subsidized classes on transcendental meditation (yes, the hedge fund), and I signed on up. The classes were taught by the David Lynch Foundation (yes, the director).
I’ve meditated almost every day ever since.
In addition to reducing stress and all the other well-catalogued benefits, I’ve noticed two profound impacts on my creativity:
1) It quiets that buzzing voice in your head
We all have running dialogues in our head with tons and tons of *shoulds* (I should do this, I should do that, you should do this, you shouldn’t do that)….
Sometimes that voice in your head can get really, really loud, especially when you should be focusing on things like your writing and that significant other who is moving their mouth in a strange way oh wait they’re talking I should probably listen right now.
Meditation quiets all that down. The voice goes from loud and distracting to more like a manageable whisper.
2) You have some pretty great ideas while meditating
One of the things I like about transcendental meditation is that you don’t actually try to force yourself not to have thoughts.
Which is good, because sometimes some pretty good ideas pop into my head.
These ideas can occasionally be harebrained — much like being inebriated, sometimes things like a REALLY GOOD IDEA while you’re meditating but when you’re fully conscious they seem a little ludicrous.
Other times, they really do help.
So… just do it. I wish I had started earlier. Whether your idea of meditating is walking through a forest or doing acupuncture or praying or whatever else, just make sure to incorporate some quiet, distraction-free time into your day.
Your creativity will thank you.
Anyone else out there meditate? Any favorite techniques or resources?
I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and consultations! And if you like this post, check out my guide to writing a novel.
Art: The Philosopher in Meditation by Rembrandt