No matter whether you are a student, a professional, a businessman, a housewife or a sports person, you need creative thinking skills in every part of life to tackle various situations, to find out of the box solutions in order to stay ahead of the competition. Chances are that you found this post, searching – “How to develop creative thinking skills? Don’t worry. This post is for you. Read until the end to discover how you could develop or improve your creative thinking skills.
Many studies suggest that Meditation has been found to be helpful in the development of creativity. Of course, there has to be a systematic process of meditation. The practices of meditation in yoga lead one from an external state of mind to a highly receptive internal state. In fact, one can even say that the entire system of yoga initially aims to develop human creativity.
That has been the traditional view of yoga, practices with the aim to develop the potential of human consciousness. It has also been found that when we practice physical yoga, activation of pranas takes place within the body. In the system of Raja Yoga, we find a series of practices which take one from the body to the realization of our inner nature.
Raja yoga is traditionally described as the eightfold path. The first two stages are of yama and niyama, which are codes of external and internal conduct, disciplines to imbibe in life. Then comes the stages of asana and pranayama. They are to improve the health of the body and the receptivity of the brain.
After that comes the fifth and sixth stages of Raja Yoga, the practices of pratyahara and dharana. In pratyahara and dharana we focus the energies of our mind and with great concentration, we are able to perform optimally using our creativity in life. Then the seventh and eighth stages are dhyana and samadhi. Dhyana means meditation which culminates in the realization of the inner self. The state of that realization is known as samadhi.
So we find that in the practices of Raja Yoga we deal with four aspects of our life. First, in the practices of yama and niyama, we deal with human behavior and interaction in society. We can say that a refinement of the personality takes place through these practices, thus improving the qualities that we use in our normal life and providing us with a greater sense of stability and discipline.
So, the aspect of behavior is managed with the practices of yama and niyama. Second, we have to learn to manage the various imbalances of the body with the practices of asana and pranayama. Third, in pratyahara and dharana, we learn to manage the dissipated states of mind. Fourth, with the practices of dhyana and samadhi, we learn to manage the psychic states of our personality.
For the development of any kind of creativity, yoga says mind must be managed properly. The definition of creativity in yoga is giving your best to the action that you are performing at present, in which the beauty, the harmony, the strength, is being projected.
This harmony can be used and applied in any stage of life, and with proper application, one finds that there is a deep harmony between the action of an individual and the aim which the individual is trying to reach. Disharmony in action, idea, and aim indicates lack of creativity so in meditation, or through the meditative process, we try to harmonize these three areas.
Let’s understand this with the story of a sculptor, Michelangelo. He said – “I do not do any sculpting but I bring out the image that is already in the stone by removing the unnecessary pieces from the stone.” Put yourself in his shoes. Would you bring out the image of the stone or would you carve the image of your mind in the stone?
Most of us would try to carve the stone according to the concept that we create moment by moment in our mind. Real creativity is not applying one’s mind to something but seeing the reality beyond the appearance. When one realizes the real reality and not the apparent reality then that is the expression of total creativity. In order to have that perception, that concept, it is necessary to fine-tune the mind.
Imagine what would happen if we turned on the television and saw ten different stations on one channel, playing all at once. That happens in our mind all the time. Our mind does not normally have the ability to identify the different impressions which are being generated in even one channel of the mind.
Therefore the nature of mind is always of dissipation, there are too many things being observed unconsciously and the faculties are not able to focus themselves in one direction. So, meditation becomes an important process by which we can eventually identify the various channels of mind – and meditation begins with the stage of pratyahara.
Normally when we begin to practice meditation without a clear concept of what meditation is, it becomes a process of imagination and fantasy. However, according to the yogic concepts meditation has to be a process of self-discovery. This process begins with the extension of the awareness to the world around us and not by withdrawing ourselves from the world and this is where many of us make a mistake.
We begin to withdraw ourselves from the world without being aware of the influences of the environment. When you extend the perceptions externally there is an extension of the faculties of mind into the environment. This extension of faculties is combined with the aspect of complete awareness. When this awareness becomes active in perception and in action, then the meditative process begins.
Normally it is the tendency of human beings to react and in this process, they never act. We react to the environment, to various influences, to our own expressions of emotions and behavior and to other people’s behavior. A reaction is something which is very natural in our life. An action is something which we have never learned, yet.
Action, here, does not mean work or performance, rather it is the harmony which expresses itself externally. Harmony in action leading to perfection is the art of action. In meditation, it is possible to come to that level of understanding, and applying that understanding in our normal life leads to enhanced creativity.
So, first of all in any kind of yoga practice, we should try to increase the level of awareness, not only in formal yoga practice but in the day to day routine activities. Include awareness. This awareness will give you, in the course of time, an understanding of the cause and effect of a particular action, attitude or behavior.
Later on, follow a systematic meditation process in which you do not try to avoid the external situation by withdrawing yourself but are able to evolve a deep understanding of yourself and the environment. Perfection in this state will lead to creativity.
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