Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Key to Creativity

"When we daydream, we're at the center of the Universe," says neurologist Marcus Raichle of Washington University in St. Louis, who first the described, in 2001, the neural network that is most active when we are daydreaming.

In 2009, Jonathan Schooler and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia, published the first study to directly link creativity with mental activity in this network, now dubbed the "default network" because it is the region of mental activity that engages when our minds are not focused on specific tasks, a condition that Schooler calls "off-task thinking."

To enhance creativity, it is important to pay attention to daydreams. "What we find," says Schooler, "is that the people who regularly catch themselves [daydreaming]--who become mindfully aware that they are doing it--seem to be the most creative."

Creativity is an innate ability in human beings. We have practiced creative thinking and creative problem solving over the millenia and our continued presence on the Earth is evidence of our mastery of the process. But modern society has conditioned our minds to constantly analyze our outer environment and to ignore the inner.

Artful Meditation workshops teach the mindfulness techniques of moment-by-moment awareness and the willful "coming back" to the here-and-now. With these techniques and with exercises that promote daydreaming, we become connected to our creative powers through the "default network."


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