“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.“
What does it mean to be creative?
Is it true that some people are more creative than others?
Why do we have creative spurts and they seem to come and go at random?
Is there a way to keep those creative moments alive?
Can we force creativity and make it happen any time we like?
For some, creativity seems to be ever-elusive, and some will say non-existent. Why is that? Is creativity something one can learn? Yes – and here is how we can learn to release our creativity any time we like.
When we understand what is going on within our bodies when the creative process is active and alive, we can then learn to re-create those moments and maintain our creativity for longer periods of time.
The first thing we can do is dispel the common myth: The left brain is realistic, analytical, practical, organized, and logical, and the right brain is creative, passionate, sensual, tasteful, colorful, vivid, and poetic. While the left-right-brain idea is mostly true, it does not stop there. The neuroscience of creativity shows us that there is a much bigger picture than just the two sides of the brain. Creativity does not involve a specific brain region or specific side of the brain,
“Instead, the entire creative process – from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification – consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.” ~~ Scott Barry Kaufman
It is important to understand that many different areas of the brain work together recruiting help from other areas of the brain. Understanding this, we can assume that just about everyone has the same creative ability as the next person.
And the best part of all this is that we can now learn to activate and maintain our creativity any time we like. It is a simple matter of understanding a few basic things about how our brain works with creativity.
The Central Executive Network
… is active when something requires our full attention, such as when we are focused on solving a complex problem or concentrating on a lecture; something that places heavy demands on our working memory. Our neural pathways communicate between the outer regions of the prefrontal cortex and the back of the parietal lobe.
The Default Mode Network (also known as the Imagination Network)
… builds dynamic mental simulations based upon our past experiences and memories, when we are thinking about the future, and when we are imagining different perspectives and scenarios for the present. This network is also active when we are imagining what someone may be thinking. It involves areas deep inside the prefrontal cortex and the temporal lobe, as well as both inner and outer regions of the parietal cortex.
The Salience Network
… is always monitoring both external events as well as the internal stream of consciousness and hands over control to whatever information is most prevalent to solving the challenge. The salience network is important for dynamic switching between the networks and consists of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortices (dACC) and the anterior insular (AI).
The neuroscience of creativity shows us that not only are the large-scale networks (left/right) active, but also recognizing that the different networks of the brain all communicate with each other and allow the most helpful networks to work together activating and deactivating specific areas as necessary during the different stages of creativity. Sometimes it is helpful for the networks to work together, while at other times, not so much.
Our creativity resides within and is always present. We just need to learn to tap into it when we want to, instead of waiting for it to show up – creativity is a flow – nothing more. If it is not flowing, what is blocking it? All we need to do is learn to clear those blocks and we may then tap into the flow.
Research shows that creative thinking involves making new connections between different regions of the brain, implying that we can make ourselves more creative by engaging our divergent thinking skills and deliberately exposing ourselves to new experiences and learning. And when we take neuroplasticity under consideration, we remember that the more we practice something, the more automatic it becomes until we no longer need to focus our full concentration on it; we trust that it will be there when we need it.
YaY! Now we know that our left-right sides are connected. How do we actualize the knowledge? How do we put it into practice?
The desire to better understand creativity and how it works came about because I have been working on this book and I was only doing so sporadically – waiting for the inspiration/ creativity to ignite. That was okay as far as it went because when it did strike, I was able to get more done; however, it did not last and I did not seem to be able to sustain it. What do I do when I come up against questions like this: “Can I spark and maintain creativity when I want?” I meditate. Often, the answers will come very quickly, and this was one of them. I got the thought, “Is there such a thing as the neuroscience of creativity?” A quick search confirmed that yes, indeed there is. And here we are. Okay, cool.
So now I know creativity is actually a whole-brain function, not just the right side. What happens is the executive network is in charge while I am writing this paragraph, at least up to this point as I basically know what I want to say. And now I am having a block – not sure where to go with it. At this point, I say ho’oponopono a few times: I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
Doing this relieves the focus from the executive network, allowing the default or imagination network to come to the foreground. This is where we get our ideas based upon our past experiences and where we imagine or visualize the future: our imagination.
As the executive network steps aside, the default network is freed up to allow new ideas and possibilities to come into our consciousness, and as they come in, the salient network is always active. Think of it as a traffic light, allowing some thoughts to flow through, while stopping others. When the executive network is at a red light, the default network thoughts are flowing through. Then when the executive network light turns green, the new thoughts slow down. The focus is then back on the executive network to concentrate and put the new thoughts together, to make sense of them, to finish the paragraph, the painting, etc.
Remember, the key ingredients of neuroplasticity and changing our brains are practice and repetition. The more we do something, the easier it gets. When I first started applying ho’oponopono to sparking and maintaining creativity, the first few times I was not sure if it was going to work, but understanding that it takes practice and repetition, I continued doing it, and sure enough, it was not very long and I began to realize it actually does work, at least for me. I have written more in the past three weeks than I have in the last year or maybe even eighteen months combined. How do I explain it? I think I just did. Suffice it to say that it works! At least it is working for me, and as it has been said, “What one person can do, another person can do.”