Sometimes, during my meditation sessions, I have "creativity attacks" i.e. creative thoughts. It can be a piece of poetry or something I would write down in my diary. How should one engage this kind of thoughts? Just observe without reacting or writing them down? If yes, what about the different kinds of Buddhist poetry like Songs of Milarepa, Japanese Haiku or Thera/Theri Gatha. The problem is, on one hand I can see that there are a lot of examples of creativity and poetry in Buddhism, but on the other I also can see my own mind being destructed by these kind of thoughts during meditation.
This is the way the mind is, uncontrollable. Acknowledge their presence and gently try to return to your usual object of meditation. If this fails, acknowledge the failure and gently try to return to your usual object of meditation. If you get frustrated, acknowledge the frustration, et cetera.
Being gentle and acknowledging whatever comes are important. And if the thought is something you want to write down for creativity's sake, that's not a bad thing. It's also not a good thing. It just is what it is. Just leave it until meditation is finished. If you forget what the thought was, then you simply forget. It is what it is.
If you practice this way, you will become less and less invested with the content of these thoughts, causing two things to happen:
- Creativity attacks will bother you less.
- They will also become less common.
This is how I meditate on my own creative thoughts.
Source: My own experience meditating in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition, and my teacher Yuttadhammo's advice.
One insight that has helped me in this situation is the realization that mindfulness practice is not destructive. That is to say, if you have a sudden creative idea while practicing, it will still be with you after your session. Realize that this is simply a thought and return your attention gently to your object of mediation. Then, when you are done with practice, you'll find your ideas are still there and then you can write them down.
Haha. "attacks" Nice choice of word but I think it's better to be called creative interruption... but even that isn't correct because sometimes following through with that interruption will allow you to get to the next leve in project _____ which helps in another different project, project ______ and in the end will somehow give you great peace of mind in your meditation (because you have your life better handled and less background worries).
Cultivating the jhanas, the foundation for developing wisdom (which in itself is the means of attaining Bodhi), requires stillness. Stillness requires... stillness. Creative interruptions, however wonderful and useful for our lives, is not directly helpful to the Training (2nd and 3rd training).
Nonetheless, the nature of stillness is that the more you achieve it, the more creative and integral you will become so it should get easier over time even though you can get some freaky creative outbursts. This is because yin is the foundation for great things to happen. This is a classic Taoist principle of extreme yin attracting extreme yang.
Nonetheless, it is essential to let the waves on the water calm down so you can master yin (samadhi/jhana). You must manage these creative outbursts but also use them like a car directs the internal combustion to getting it to move forward...
I oftentimes find that there is IMMENSE value in the insights, remembrances and recollections that happen during meditation. I have a to-do list widget on my home screen which is frequently used for exactly that purpose.
I try to never get up and do the activity (write a script, do something, modify something, try something out, etc.) because that is breaking the first thing I was talking about, the stillness. In order to master anapana, or whatever method you do, you have to stick to it!
So my recommendation to you would be that you should write down a good keyword(s) for whatever idea you had so you can come back to it when your session is complete. I reccommend using your phone simply because it is fastest (and thus least interruptive) method and can be done in the dark. Feel free to design automation scripts to help you in this (for example, a meditation timer that after started automatically pulls up a notepad for your collecting of any creative interruptions) This should not take more than 10 seconds. Learn to differentiate between worthless insights/fantasies/wanderings and ACTUALLY practical creative outbursts. The more you learn to differentiate between them... the more GOOD creative interruptions you will have. Talk about mining the good stuff from meditation, in an indirect way, huh?
Then go right back to meditation, doing a mini 5 second adjustment and re-declaration of your intention before you gather your 5 Faculties again for the Training.
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The main things is you should watch you mind drifting away to creative thoughts. When you realize it has gone, this creates a slight discomfiting sensation in the body but predominantly around the head. (if you are not sensitive enough you mind not see it at 1st, but more practice you will start seeing the sensation around the head area and with mo practice on the whole body. Other than creative thoughts you get a few emotional thoughts in quick succession you can easily see the depressed or happy feeling / sensation. ) Notice this sensation and get back to your object of meditation.
Also you should note that these creative attacks are a verbal and mental fabrication. So you have to calm the these fabrication as part of your meditation by looking at the sensation when these thoughts come in contact with your mind sentence door followed by the metal state you get into when this happens. (E.g. Scattered mind.))
Great question! Extinguish the ego and end the narrative. This internal dialogue is part of us all; it is like food for the ego. When cultivating stillness a myriad of thoughts will bubble up.... these are your illusions.. try not to provide the narrative.. better to recognize the thought for what it is.. let it go.. non-attachment Try to reside in your heart centre more than the mind. This internal dialogue is the polar opposite of mindfulness it is with us in sleep,meditation and thru out the wakeful day. Some folks use mantras or focal points of reference such as breathing to return to mindfulness. i found listening the best focal point for my practice.. especially while enjoying the chaos of the day. Good Luck in your practice my Brother !