What is the number one creative exercise for learning how to be creative? It doesn’t involve a pen, paper, nor any instrument. Rather, it involves absolutely nothing, or “nothingness,” to be precise.
So, what is creativity?
Creativity is the ability to take an object, item or idea and create something new with it, outside of its original purpose.
- Dali, for instance, might use the image of butterflies to create the mast of ships.
- Neruda might use elements of the landscape of his native Chile to symbolise the form of his lover’s body. (“ Here there is a mountain. / I’ll never get out of it. /Oh what giant moss! / And a crater, a rose /of dampened fire!”)
- Beethoven might use the melody of a dreaded door knock to represent fate
All these great artists took one idea or object and used them for a purpose outside of their original intent.
And here we find the key to becoming creative: the ability to see beyond our instinctive / habitual understanding of an idea or object in order that we might use it for some other end.
- Dali was only able to use butterflies as masts by seeing past the original understanding of a butterfly.
- Neruda was only able to use Chile to represent the form of his lover by seeing past the original understanding of Chile
- Beethoven was only able to use a door knock to represent fate by hearing past the original understanding of a door knock.
To be creative, then, we must learn to see past our first understanding of an object. Only then can we recognise the flexibility in an object and therefore use it for some other purpose, thus being creative.
But when we, as human beings, are so quick to define; when we label an object or person the moment we see it / them, what on earth can we do to get ourselves to see beyond our original understanding?
Creativity Exercise: Meditating on a Subject
When we meditate, we let go of our definition of people and things and see the very basic elements of which we are comprised.
By meditating, we allow ourselves to see the potential in an object to be used creatively.
The best exercise for creativity, then, is to choose the object which you would like to use creatively, and meditate on it. Look at the structure of the object, at the colours, the form, the shapes. . . observe its every element. Do so without defining. Try not to think “That’s a butterfly” but rather look beyond that definition to see the underlying truth of the object.
By meditating on a subject, you will find a thousand ways in which that object may be used creatively. Oh, and as a bonus, you’ll also relax yourself greatly, promote inner calm and even improve your health (all of which are proven benefits of meditation).