December 12, 2012: Can Meditation "Fix" Creative Restlessness?




If you are creatively frustrated and are looking for meditation to make your creative restlessness go away, I say, instead: Embrace it.

In The Dynamics of Creation, British psychologist Anthony Storr says that artists create to arrive at a sense of order in a chaotic world, to seek status and prestige, and other psychological reasons. (I’m using “artist” in the broad sense to refer to visual artists, writers, musicians, etc.)

But perhaps the best reason, he concludes, is that creatively inclined people are simply blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with a creative restlessness, or a “divine discontent” that makes us want to create something. This artistic discontent is useful because society needs art, music, books, and other creative works for entertainment, comfort, and catharsis. What a perfect equation: some of us needing to make stuff, while others need the catharsis and fulfillment offered by creative works.

If you are a person with creative ideas and inclinations who talks yourself out of creating because you think your ideas or talents aren’t good enough, or because you don’t have the time you think you need, or because you don’t have the support of others…try believing in yourself instead.

Do what you are programmed to do. Find a way, find the time, find the space. Give yourself permission to create. Use your meditation practice to help sit in compassionate awareness of the stories you’re tempted to tell yourself about why you shouldn’t be creating. Learn with your meditation practice to drop those negative storylines, or at least to not take them so seriously. And then go back to being the artist that you are.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree! And what a fascinating sketch with those vivid, intense colors. There's a cheery brightness and something deeper and a little scary too--just like making art!

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