Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg has much to say about the many benefits of meditation, but recently she wrote something that is rarely noted as a benefit of meditation. She says, "Meditation practice helps us relinquish old, painful habits; . . . it ignites a very potent energy in us." In last Saturday's Quieting the Inner Critic workshop, we talked about our own painful habits that keep us from our creative projects. We explored some techniques for disarming our inner critics, those evil inner voices that tell us we're not good enough. And we learned that these thoughts, that we so conveniently ascribe to a mean-spirited critic who has possessed us, are just habits. They aren't true; they aren't even real. They're just thoughts. And most of us know that it's pretty good practice to think twice before we believe our own thoughts about ourselves. We're most always wrong!
Meditation, as Salzberg suggests, helps us challenge the truthfulness of negative beliefs we hold about our creative capacity. Through quieting the mind we come to see those thoughts as merely habitual patterns that the mind has become comfortable with. They are not true. They can be dismissed: sometimes gently ushered out of the mind-house; other times stomped on and taken out to the trash bin.
And then, aaaahhhhh sets in. We relax. Space opens up in the mind and in the heart, and astonishingly, potent energy begins to rise. This potent energy is your creative spirit expanding and seeking expression. You made a space for it and it gladly appeared to fuel your creative fire.
Try it for yourself. There are lots of ways to spend a few minutes quieting your mind. For help, read Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation. Or watch her gentle instruction in this month’s Tricycle Magazine online retreat (http://www.tricycle.com/online-retreats/real-happiness-28-day-meditation-program/concentration). Check out Deepak Chopra's daily online meditation guidance. Come to the next Quieting Your Inner Critic workshop and get a small taste of how breathing and sitting still for short moments can lead to clarity and serenity, two useful conditions for cultivating your creativity. Or just make a commitment to sit still for four minutes every once in a while. Yes! Just every once in a while! You don’t have to become a monk! If you do this, I know your creative genius will be happy to get re-acquainted with you.