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Notes about Creativity

By Matthieu Ricard on September 10, 2009

Mr558

The Process of Creativity

In order for creativity to develop, the mind needs to be free from the automatic and habitual thinking that runs around in circles. It should remain in a state of openness, lucidity, flexibility, clarity, and wisdom. This will allow it to stop superimposing its own projections on to reality.

A new understanding can spring forth from within this state of freedom, regardless of whether or not we are looking for answers. When we try to solve a mathematical problem or to develop a new understanding of reality, for instance the problem or the question lingers in the back of our mind. If, instead of laboriously trying to figure out possible solutions with our discursive mind, we simply remain in a state of quiet openness, this may allow unforeseen insights to arise. Such insights may pertain to scientific discovery, to artistic creation, or to new ways of dealing with life's challenging situations.

The Pitfalls of Creativity

We often explore the remote corners of our habitual mental landscape with the hope of finding something that has never been done or said before. Such a process does not lead to anything very original and does not add anything to oneself and to humanity. Instead, we can try and remain in a state of inner freedom that provides space for seeing things in new ways.

Creativity and Inner Transformation

A mind resting in a state of lucid openness may also lead to a clearer understanding of the nature of mind itself. It may cause us to see whether or not there is a truly existing ‟self.” Such direct investigation helps us to experience the world in an entirely new light.

If we are thus able to bridge the gap between the way things appear and the way things are, we will be freed from basic ignorance and, consequently, from the causes of suffering.  In the pursuit of happiness this would be considered to be genuine creativity.

In the same vein, it is also creative to break through the boundaries of the narrow bubble of self-centeredness and let our mind expand toward unconditional loving-kindness and compassion.

Creativity in Education

In the field of education, to be creative is to get rid of entrenched theories and look at things with fresh eyes, asking basic questions such as ‟What do we really expect from education?” Education should produce good human beings, but it seems like most of the educational systems do not directly aim at achieving this goal.

To be creative in education would entail devising new skillful ways to achieve that aim. This may require a quantum leap toward teaching human values, to truly help children to develop mindfulness, altruistic love and tolerance, and, therefore, to create a more compassionate society.