Each morning, Monday through Thursday, a group of creative entrepreneurs 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.
The reason we do this is because we know, from experience, how important a morning ritual is to creative success. Human beings are creatures of memory and habit. We all have rituals in the morning. 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 your creative self, or mindless and dedicated to your consumer self.
Yes, strangely, we all resist flow practice, even those of us who know how super-valuable it is.
It can be a challenge to find enough time for our actual creative work, why give over time to these open-ended activities, which have no step-by-step outcomes or obvious endpoints?
Reading through its many benefits reminds us just how important creative flow practice is for anyone running a creative business.
The Source of the 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 thought, junk light, junk noise, junk ideas but at one level, the deep level, the creative level, none of that matters.
The creative level is a realm of imaginal riches, 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.
Like a good mother, it won’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, in the nothingness within and between things.
There, we don’t have to chase, or push, or strain. There, we are in flow.
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, in part. Both just flow.
This is one of the great mysteries of being human. Where does this flow—in physical breath, in imaginative insight—come from? What is it for? Where does it go?
Creative flow practice takes us to that source.
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: Centring.
Creative Flow Practice settles the surface self into the creative self. It pust us in the right mental and physical groove for high performance, by improving our psychic state, elevating our mood and making us feel centred. All this sets us up for a more creative day.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #2: Connection
Inspiration Meditation connects with ourselves — the inner self, at all levels: mind, emotion and spirit. F-r-e-e-writing connects with the outer world, by increasing our awareness of all our relationships, with people, places and things
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #3: Self-awareness and Acceptance
In the Buddhist tradition, meditation leads to knowing ourselves better, at many levels, not just the level of surface thought. This self-awareness leads naturally to unconditionally accepting ourselves just as we are.
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 oursleves, 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: Clears 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 FREE-Writing, the shells of our bad habits fall away as new experiences and preferences emerge – without conscious manipulation.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #5: Context
Over time, we realise 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. Re-entering the experiences of our lives allows them to serve as starting points for new, often unpredictable, inner movements that yield profound transformations.
Seven Benefits of Creative Flow Practice. #6: It Doesn’t take Time, It Makes Time
The effect of regular practice is that 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 It makes you more creative.
Research shows that those who have a flow practice like meditation or F-r-e-e-writing have greater cognitive flexibility than non-meditators, and are less inclined to apply outdated solutions to problems and challenges, based on their past experiences.
Flow practice reduces the reactivity of the base brain, increases resilience, as well as improving emotional intelligence and many of the other mental and emotional benefits listed here. All these assist in getting ideas flowing directly to your creative brain: the neocortex.