creative flow morning practice guidelines

Each Thursday for the month of July, some members of The Creativist Club are gathering to do morning flow practice together. (More on flow practice and why it’s important here)

This is an experiment for me, to see if a) it is useful to members and b) whether it enriches or distracts from my own practice.

For years now, inspired by other creative facilitators like Dorothea Brande, Julia Cameron, Brenda Ueland and Natalie Goldberg, I’ve done three practices almost daily:

  • Effortless Exercise for body
  • F-r-e-e-writing for mind
  • Inspiration Meditation for spirit

I’m experimenting with Facebook Live as a medium for offering two of these more widely.

Here are some guidelines for those of you who would like to join in these sessions.

Go Creative! Morning Flow Practice: What Does It Do?

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.

These three practices–F-R-E-E-Writing, Effortless Exercise, Inspiration Meditation–take me there.

In our morning practice sessions, we practice two of these together: Inspiration Meditation and F-R-E-E-Writing.

Creative Morning Flow Practice Guidelines: Q&A

Why Mornings?

Zen masters recommend that the moment you open your eyes, before the first half-conscious thought has time to form in your mind, you should get out of bed and begin your meditation. Doing it first has many benefits, not least that it sets the tone for your day.

The effect of practice is that experiencing the create-state first thing in the morning allows it to rise more often, and more fullly, 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 breturn it to you for you at any time of day.

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?

Go Creative! Morning Flow Practice Guidelines: Inspiration Meditation

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?

Inspiration Meditation is a form of meditation that uses sound and the absence of sound as its focus. It is specially designed for febrile creative minds that can find it hard to settle.

When you become practiced at meditation, it’s easier to slip into that state of creative awareness anytime, any place but when we’re beginning a practice, returning to it after a time away, or when our minds are especially active–as the minds of those of us in creative business often are–we need a method to settle us into the create state

Inspiration Meditation is the most effective method I know.

It has three components:

  1. A word phrase
  2. The spaces between the words of the phrase
  3. The sound of All

Words have great power. Because language is so every day, we often overlook its significance, but sound, originating as a vibration, has the power to deeply affect consciousness. Language, music, everyday sounds and the “sound of silence” all can alter our feelings and experience of life.

Although physically expressed as sound and silence, the real essence of Inspiration Meditation is the soundless focusing of mental and imaginative faculties by drawing the attention inwards, leading to subtle alterations in consciousness, that radiate outwards and inwards.

It’s also a profound and pleasing experience.

The Phrase
The full phrase we use for Inspiration Meditation is Know ~ Your ~ Truth ~ In ~ Me ~ Open ~ Allow ~ Be.

A full Inspiration Meditation session using the full phrase takes about 30 minutes. In our 15-minute morning flow practice session, we work with some of the words.

You can also work with it any time during the day, using any two words e.g. your first name and surname

During the meditation, each word is separated out and repeated. So the words are not approached in the logical, linear, sense-driven way we normally approach a sentence.

It is not really a sentence. It makes some sense, but its meanings and emphases are not fixed.

Or you may find that the repetition has the curious effect of detaching them from what they normally mean. This, too, is fine.

The Space
Just as important as the words in the phrase are the spaces between the words.

Everything that exists arose from nothing, is surrounded — inside and out — by nothing and will return to nothing.

Unlike words and experiences and things, silence and space and nothingness cannot be divided or categorized.

Words contain silence, and silence contains words. Experiences contain space, and space contains experiences. Nothingness contains things, and things contain nothingness.

Inspiration Meditation draws attention to this interplay of form and formlessness.

The Sound of All
The word “All” contains the vowel sound that is found in so many of the names given, over the centuries, to what is most commonly in Western culture called God: Yahweh, Allah, Ra, Jehovah, Krishna, Kali, Yeshua, Tao, Shiva…

It is also the sound in Mom and Dad, Mama and Papa, Gran and Granddad. The sound of satisfaction. The sound in art. The sound in heart.

As All is sounded into the space between the words of the Inspiration Meditation phrase, new meanings emerge:

Know ~ All ~ Your ~ All ~ Truth ~ All ~ In ~ All ~ Me ~ All ~ Open ~ All ~ Allow ~ All ~ Be.

Again, let such meanings rise without weighing them with any more thought. Sound the sound of the words and return to the space between the words.

Inspiration Meditation Q&A

How Should I Sit? Do I Have to Sit Crosslegged?

In theory, meditation can be done in any position, sitting, standing or lying down. In practice, many people find the metaphysical freedom meditation offers is most easily accessed through a little physical discipline.

In other words: your body demonstrates your intention to your mind.

The postures and breathing exercises recommended by the ancient sages are those most likely to deliver the mental shift we seek in meditation, especially when starting out.

Inspiration Meditation can be done lying flat on your back (as in the yoga pose Shavasana); standing (like Tadasana); sitting in a chair with the feet flat on the floor,  or sitting on the floor in the classic, cross-legged seven-point posture of meditation.

Whichever you choose, in all positions, keep your spine straight and your shoulders, neck and face relaxed; your eyes gently closed; your lips in a half smile; your teeth unclenched; your jaw released; your tongue loose in your mouth; the muscles of your face at ease. Make adjustments with small micro-movements to ensure that you are comfortable.

If sitting, your hands can be cradled, one on top of the other below the navel, elbows held slightly out from your body. If lying, keep your arms by your side in a relaxed position, palms turned upwards.

● If you really need to move while meditating, because of pins and needles, or a cramp, or any other discomfort, that’s fine. Move slowly and quietly, in harmony with the breath, retaining mindfulness.

● A slight anxiety, or an itch, or a wish to move is best observed rather than acted on. It will pass.

● If you find yourself falling asleep during meditation, it means that you are sleep deprived. You will find that regular meditation induces more, or better quality, rest.

● If you need a certain posture, or cushion, or to be with a group in order to meditate well, ensure that you have it. Know yourself. Meet your own needs.

I Can’t Stop My Thoughts?

When you meditate, no matter what technique you use, your thinking mind will produce thoughts. Thoughts are the breath of the mind; we cannot stop them for long. But we can slow them. We can become aware of them. We can learn to observe them. And in so doing we find that we can, every so often, for a while, let them go.

As you embark upon Inspiration Meditation, lay down all expectations or demands and allow what is to be. There is no such thing as a bad meditation. Any time spent in silence is (in)valuable, even if thoughts keep twirling throughout. Fold away your judgements – of what is happening in the session, of what should be happening, of what would be better if only … Just observe. Rather than adding thought to thought, let it be.

That open, welcoming awareness of what actually is, regardless of what your will, your con-mind wants: that is the meditative state. That is your creative consciousness surfacing. You enable it to arise by being gentle and easy with yourself. You cannot chase it or force it. You can only succumb to it. Surrender is the action that allows it to be.

Meditation is a practice, not an accomplishment. The only way you can “fail” is to choose not to do it. And if you don’t do it today, well, just gently bring yourself to practise tomorrow. Stay with it.

I Really Can’t Stop My Thoughts.

Really, stay with it.

I Keep Falling Asleep

You are sleep deprived. Many people are, particularly those with over-demanding jobs or relationships. The non-stop thinking during the day degrades the quality and quantity of sleep at night. Inspiration Meditation will enable you to break this pattern. Once you’re fully rested,  you’ll be able to sit or lie in meditation without dropping off. And you’ll enjoy every other aspect of your life a whole lot more too.

Go Creative! Morning Flow Practice Guidelines: F-R-E-E-Writing

  1. Keep writing until the time is up. Write for 15 minutes and then stop.
  2. Don’t stop to read what you’ve written or have a think. Think on the page.
  3. If necessary, write nonsense, or “I can’t think what to write” over and again, until you can.
  4. If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you’re writing, ask yourself what’s bothering you and write about that. Write about how you don’t like doing this, how you resent being here, and see what emerges next.
  5. Do whatever you need to do to keep the words flowing out of you onto the page.

F-R-E-E-Writing Full Instructions Here

 

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