Creating Mindlessly:Getting Out of Your Own Way

by Marney K. Makridakis

One of the biggest problems that we run into when we are creating something is that our minds get in the way. They push and shove their way around, bullying our precious imaginations from shining through.

mindlessThe thing is, we TRUST our minds. Our minds get us through all the things we need to do every day. We make decisions, take action, meet our challenges…all because of our minds. So we have learned to be grateful for them and to depend on them.

But our minds – smart as they may be – can REALLY get in the way when we are creating. They can limit, squelch, criticize, inhibit, and diminish our creativity. As we grow older, our minds seem to become even more stubborn (notice that most children don’t have a problem with creating without inhibition).

To complicate things even further, any training in a particular creative form can make our minds all the more pushy in the creative process. But if we all took ourselves seriously as artists, writers, and creators, I think we would realize that our true creative gifts are much bigger than our minds.

Creating from our imaginations, rather than our minds, is certainly not the only way to create, but opening ourselves to this level of creativity is an incredible exercise and experience. If you put your mind aside to create something raw and spontaneous, you may not care for it, technically, but dipping into the well of saturated, bare creativity from time to time will intensify all your creative experiences.

If you’re asking yourself, “How in the world can I get away from my mind, since it’s with me all the time?”, I have a few suggestions to share:

  • Acknowledge the separation between your true soul gifts and your mind. In his book, The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle shares his powerful transition from being suicidal, homeless, and hopeless to becoming enlightened and inspired to follow a devout spiritual path. He explains that there was one fatal night where he was ready to commit suicide, painfully feeling that he could not stand living with himself one more moment. In articulating that thought, he realized that if he could not stand living with himself, somehow he was not his mind; there was some kind of division in who was. If there was a part of him that could not live with himself, that part was pure and longed for something more.
  • Create a ritual. If you can create some kind of special ritual that you consistently follow to invoke your true creativity when you begin the creative process, your mind will get the picture. Light a candle, meditate, visualize yourself as a spontaneous child, pray, fingerpaint. Whatever your ritual is, make it a habit. Teach your mind that when you invoke this ritual, you are transitioning out of everyday life into a sacred process.
  • Sigh, surrender, and give yourself up to “It”. There are many quotes from brilliant creators who have known that they were not in charge. Figure out what your “It” is; that is, determine the force that is truly behind your creating and give yourself up to it. Everyone’s “It” will be different, but the point is that we must truly absorb the fact that we are not in charge of what we are creating. For some people, the art form itself holds the power. For others, it is their personal Muse. It also may be God, nature, the universe, the inner child, a powerful symbol, the memory of someone who has passed away, or anything else that you feel can be a vessel for your raw brilliance.

Author Madeline L’Engle says, “The story knows more than the artist knows.”

Painter Pablo Picasso said “Painting is stronger than I am. It can make me do whatever it wants.”

What do YOU say?