Discovering creativity – it’s there, but can we see it? – part one

April 03, 2014

Discovering creativity – it’s there, but can we see it? – part one

Are you a creative person? This frequently asked question insinuates that some of us have a ‘gift’ to create imaginative things, while others are simply missing this attribute.

If this is the case, is creativity – whether that’s to use as a problem-solving tool, as a way of expressing ourselves or connecting with the world – given to us by nature or by nurture? Could any of us train to be an interior designer, or write a play, or is it just the ‘creative types’ amongst us that could tackle such tasks?

Where did that amazing idea come from?

However we see ourselves and however we view creativity, we all have those moments when we’re in the shower, or driving in the car, and a brilliant idea pops into our head.  

Equally, most of us will have also had those terrifying moments when we’re told to be creative – the meeting where we’re instructed to ‘brainstorm’, the costume we must produce for our child’s school play. Then, our imaginations tend not to fire so easily, showing us that creative thinking can’t be controlled by the flick of a switch, or if it can, it’s one that tends to jam when we need it most.

According to many western psychologists, creativity is closely tied to the ‘conscious’ and ‘subconscious’ mind. But this is actually a bit of a red-herring. It suggests our minds are divided into two distinct areas we can only visit one at a time. In this way, to be creative, we have to specially ‘tap-in’ to the subconscious part of the mind, where our creative thoughts are otherwise locked away.

How to notice creative thought

In meditation, this isn’t the case. We only have one mind, so while we don’t always notice some of the thoughts and feelings that bubble away, they’re there – in the very same place as our conscious thoughts. They’re not stored in a separate compartment, we don’t need special creativity exercises to access them – all we need to do is become aware of them.

But how can we notice these thoughts more to increase creativity? 

Think of the mind as the surface of a lake. When it’s busy, which our minds usually are, every active thought impacts the surface like a pebble being thrown onto it. Each one creates ripples, one overlapping the next and the next, making the surface of the mind full of movement.

Beneath this frenetic surface is where our creative, inspirational and spontaneous thoughts lie. They’re always there; they’re just harder to see because they’re obscured by the constant movement of the water above them.

So while we may think we’re not a creative person, we probably just need to give our thoughts a chance, by calming the surface to get a clear view of the creativity that lies beneath.

Read our next blog to find out how to use mindfulness to calm the surface of your mind.


Our free creativity podcast is a great resource to help you apply mindfulness in your day-to-day life and notice creative thought.

Dig in deeper

The Headspace Meditation app teaches a wide range of meditative and mindful practises that are recognised as being fantastic tools for settling the mind and allowing us tap into our creative source. The Headspace Meditation App trial is completely free and allows you to try our Take 10 series. Try for yourself today.


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