In understanding creative intelligence, I find it useful to think about the mind in three dimensions – what I call Top Mind, Deep Mind and Beyond Mind.
These categories correspond to the common divisions of intellect, imagination and soul.
The language of Top Mind is thought. The language of Deep Mind is dreams. The language of Beyond Mind is space.
The categories also have a correspondence in brain neuroscience, which I’ll discuss another day.
It has become standard in creative and spiritual circles to
dub Top Mind “the ego ” and to set it in opposition to the deeper dimensions of imagination, soul and spirit.
We should think less, we are told. We should try to stop thinking.
In a way, this is true. Human evolution (to date) has created a species in which thinking has become compulsive. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years of conditioning, suppressing individual creativity in favour of the group imperative, has left us trapped in the mental dimension. Our thoughts steer our lives rather than the other way around.
And compulsive thought does separate us from the Deep and Beyond dimensions of the self.
Thought is the breath of the mind. We can no more stop our minds from thinking than we can stop our lungs from breathing.
The admonition to “Stop thinking!” is itself a thought. A troubled and troublesome one that ignites a negative spiral of further thought, dividing us against ourselves.
It doesn’t work.
What does work is creative use of Top Mind to strengthen Deep Mind and Beyond Mind. This is how we develop our creative intelligence.
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