Each morning, Monday through Thursday, a group of us meets on Facebook Live to enjoy the benefits of creative flow practice.
Together, we practice Inspiration Meditation and F-R-E-E-Writing. The session is then posted in our closed Facebook group, so others can use it to practice at their own convenience, wherever they might be in the world.
We all have rituals in the morning, whether we recognize it or not. Jumping straight onto chat or email first thing is also a ritual.
The question is not whether you have a morning (or lunchtime, or worktime, or evening or bedtime) ritual. The question is whether your rituals are intentional and dedicated to what you want to create in your life. Nurturing of your creative self.
Or mindless, time-wasting, and dedicated to your consumer self.
Strangely, we all resist flow practice, even those of us who know how super-valuable it is. But those who haven’t tried it yet resist it most. Why give time to these open-ended, free flowing activities, which have obvious outcomes or clear endpoints? There’s WORK to be done.
Here are seven benefits of creative flow practice to remind us just how valuable it is.
Benefits of Creative Flow Practice
Dozens of studies are confirming what was always known to sages and saints: The material surface world is only one dimension of human existence. Creative success relies on deeper dimensions, to which we can connect through creative flow practice
We are surrounded by so much junk. Junk food, junk light, junk noise, junk ideas but our lives go on also at another level: the deeper level, the creative level, which is clear of all the clutter.
The creative level is deep and still and quiet, welling full of all the insights and inspiration, energy and insights we long for… but as if underwater.
Its voice is submerged, it sends up whispers about dreams we might do, longings we might satisfy, habits we might transform, cool things we might make … or make happen.
It doesn’t shout or scold or lecture if we take no notice of its quiet prompts. It knows life is the best teacher. It waits, always there for us, (though we’re not always there for it). There: in the spaces within and between words. There: in the nothingness within and between things.
From its depths flow a realm of imaginal riches. We don’t have to chase, or push, or strain to access these, to be inspired. All we have to do is show up.
Inspiration is, in many ways, a choice.
Benefits Creative Flow Practice: Inspiration and Ideas
There are two meanings to the word “inspiration”: taking an in-breath and receiving a creative brainwave. The two have much in common, not least that they both largely come of themselves but can also be influenced and happen mindfully and intentionally.
Where does creative flow—in ysical breath, in imaginative insight— come from? This is one of the great mysteries of being human. It’s not something we can answer with our thinking minds.
Do You Need The Benefits of Creative Flow Practice?
Are you in need of any of the following?
- MORE CREATIVE AUTONOMY: You feel you’re not in touch with your true wants. You’re dancing to somebody else’s tune, being led by craving, compulsion or procrastination.
- Result: You’re resisting or self-sabotaging.
- MORE CREATIVE ACCEPTANCE: You resist release or surrender. You’ve been told it’s passive or weak, rather than what it is: the core of creative strength.
- Result: You’re drained or exhausted.
- MORE CREATIVE PRESENCE: You can’t summon creative presence. You don’t know how to induce the create-state, how to let your sub-conscious do the heavy lifting.
- Result: You’re pushing or striving too hard.
- MORE CREATIVE FOCUS: You can’t settle. You haven’t learned, in a distracting and fast-moving world, how to channel the power of your creative attention.
- Result: You’re over-stretched or distracted
- MORE CREATIVE COURAGE: You’re short on spirit. You need more support to experiment with your life, learn from failure, put yourself out there…so you can take risks from a place of safety.
- Result: You’re pulling back or shying away.
- MORE CREATIVE FAITH: You don’t trust the process. You haven’t practiced your own way enough yet to relax into creative conviction.
- Result: You’re doubting or dithering.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #1: Centering Us
Creative Flow Practice settles the (surface, conventional) self onto the (deeper, creative) self. It puts us in the right mental and physical groove for high performance, by improving our psychic state, elevating our mood and making us feel centered. All this sets us up for a more creative day.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #2: Connecting Us To Inner and Outer
Creative Flow Practice is a bridge between our inner and outer life, cross-connecting mind, emotion, and spirit. By increasing and embedding our awareness of all our relationships, our relationships with other people, with places, with things deepens.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #3: Fostering Mindfulness and Self-Acceptance
Creative flow practice fosters mindfulness which enables us to like ourselves and our own lives more.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the great zen master and poet, says:
Whenever we see or hear something, our attention can be appropriate or inappropriate. With mindfulness we can recognize which it is and release inappropriate attention and nurture appropriate attention.
Appropriate mental attention, yoniso manaskara in Sanskrit, brings us happiness, peace, clarity, and love. Inappropriate attention, ayoniso manaskara, fills our mind with sorrow, anger, and prejudice.
Mindfulness helps us practice appropriate attention and water the seeds of peace, joy, and liberation in us.
Meditation and f-r-e-e-writing encourage this “loving-kindness” or “unconditional friendliness” towards ourselves, towards what’s going on in our lives, towards what we are creating.
As well as making us feel so much better, it saves us a lost of wasted creative energy that would otherwise leach into anger, sorrow and other such emotions.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #4: Clearing Resistance and Block
New recognitions, ideas and emotions overcome habitual anxieties or self-sabotage. This is a very different dynamic from attempting to control what we perceive to be our flaws or bad habits. Consciously disciplining ourselves into change is generally doomed. We manage it for a time but our old, ingrained ways resurface, stronger than ever.
(We see this dynamic clearly in binge drinkers or compulsive eaters but it is there to an extent in us all.)
With regular f-r-e-e-writing and inspiration meditation, the shells of our bad habits fall away as new experiences and preferences emerge – without conscious manipulation.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #5: Transforms our Experience of Life
Flow practice is never about any one session. It’s about showing up, regularly, over time. Its benefits are cumulative.
When we do show up, over time we realize that our lives have been going somewhere, however blind we may have been to the direction. We find the connections beneath the surface fractures, the meaning that has been trying to establish itself in us.
When we clear the surface and re-enter the experiences of our lives at depth, they serve as starting points for new inner movements that yield profound transformations.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #6: Makes More Time
The reason people most often give for not practicing is that they haven’t got the time. This is wrong thinking. It’s not that we don’t have time to practice; we don’t have time because we don’t practice.
Creative flow practice doesn’t take time, it makes time.
Experiencing the create-state first thing in the morning allows it to rise more often, and more fully, later in the day. You’ll find that gently repeating the word A-l-l in your mind, giving yourself the instruction to “Enter the space between the words”, or snatching a few moments f-r-e-e-writing will return it to you for you at any time of day.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #7 Makes us more creative
Creative flow practice reduces reactivity, increases mental and emotional resilience, improves emotional intelligence and many other mental and emotional processes.
Research shows that those who have a flow practice like meditation or f-r-e-e-writing have greater cognitive flexibility than non-meditators, are less inclined to apply outdated solutions to problems and challenges, and are more likely to have high-level ideas and insights.
And… if you have likeminded friends, do share it with them.