Philosophies I Learned from my Yogi Tea and then some
Take it from my Yogi Tea this morning: A relaxed mind is a creative mind.
Creativity is not something we can force, or weasel our way into. It comes to us, much like a gust of wind or a passing thought. All in all, creativity is just a passing thought…Some thoughts more meaningful than others. And Yogi Tea is right - when we have a relaxed mind, more creative thoughts come our way, as opposed to a stressful, anxious mind full of thoughts neck-deep in worry, anger, inadequacy, and so on forever. Though, easier said than done. Working in silence helps, keeping neat and tidy can do wonders, and obviously, meditation trains the body + mind + spirit to relax into the present moment and surrender to passing thoughts as if they were just clouds. But, in a work environment (or just a hectic life), it’s simple to get wrapped up in the chaos of it all, and lose a sense of wonder…A sense of creativity in our tedious tasks. Again, easier said than done, but it can be done, and there are a few ancient (or not so ancient) philosophies that can aid in guiding us into a present moment flow while creating, discovering, and inspiring:
- Buddhism teaches that all art springs from not just an every-day work work work state of mind, but from a very certain state of mind. That is, the mind of a child (or, “beginner’s mind” they say). Channeling the wonder of a child engenders calmness, and a lack of attachment to our habitual patterns of perceiving. Children have an attitude of openness, inquisitiveness, and therefore, clarity in what they want and need. Zen Buddhists teach that “in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few.” Zen Buddhism also works with a sort of humor that no other religious or spiritual practice abides by. One moment, the teacher is seriously deep, and in another, he’s coming back at the student with sarcasm and humor, to remind them that we must remain childlike in our approaches. Nothing should be taken too seriously. Zen Buddhists are the Seinfeld of consciousness, if you will.
LOVE IS PATIENT, LOVE IS KIND (IT DOES NOT ENVY, IT DOES NOT BOAST…)
- The Bible preaches that love is patient, love is kind…And that it always hopes and always perseveres. Sound like your work ethic? Or not so much anymore? It’s easy to get stuck in a rut - especially in relationships and careers. Getting caught up in the day-to-day grunt of it all, we fall into a habitual holes, forgetting how to love and why we do it in the first place. Creativity feels like love. It’s free, easy, inherent. Its your birth right. Creativity is patient, creativity is kind. Don’t force it, or you might burn out.
THE GUT IS THE SECOND BRAIN
- It may be true that our brain does most of the thinking, but it’s also true that our gut does a lot too. Though, the gut’s thoughts come more in the form of feelings, rather than aforementioned passing clouds. Cultivating a sense intuition and gut-understanding is really and truly the key to unlocking your full creative potential, because when we listen and respond accordingly to that little voice inside our stomach that tells us whether something is right or wrong, we're responding to the voice that matters.
THE 4 AGREEMENTS
- 1) Be Impeccable With Your Word 2) Don’t Take Anything Personally 3) Don’t Make Assumptions 4) Always Do Your Best. And no, we didn’t make this up, they come from the famous Miguel Ruiz book. This guy may be short + sweet, but it’s truly life-changing if you’re seeking a more creative, anxiety-ridden lifestyle.
MOVE YO BODY
- Okay, maybe this isn’t an ancient “philosophy” per se, but in a way, it actually is. Because it’s scientifically proven that when we move and stretch and strengthen and lengthen, magical things happen inside not only our muscle tissues, but inside our brains. Your brain is as crucial in cultivating more creativity as working out is to maintaining a beach-ready bod. So why not work on both while at the gym? Physical exertion of choice is up to you. Use it or lose it.
- Our ancestors have been writing and reading for hundreds of thousands of years (texting not involved). We shouldn’t stop now just because there’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We’re talking about taking some quiet time (preferably alone) to sit down and read an ancient text, or a more applicably modern book (The Artist’s Way and Big Magic are splendid) to spark your imagination and shift your perspective on creativity and where it comes from. 140 characters don’t count.
You don’t have to believe in any one way or another, the whole point of studying and applying historical philosophies of all kinds is to find which works for you. All that genius is hiding underneath the worry, the rage, the anxiety…And it’s up to you to find which philosophies resonate with your lifestyle the best. Now go on, and make something why don’t ya!