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Developing Creativity – Eric Maisel on Mindfulness

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. This kind of attention nurtures greater awareness, clarity, and acceptance of present-moment reality.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn  – from his book Wherever You Go, There You Are.

Many others talk about mindfulness as a way to not only manage stress, but enhance personal development and creativity.

Nonjudgmental awareness may be a key element in divergent thinking – an aspect of creativity and innovation.

Creativity coach and therapist Eric Maisel, PhD notes mindfulness includes noticing our thoughts about creative expression.

“We notice the thought – for example, ‘I am running from my writing’ – and acknowledge that we had the thought. The thought comes, we notice it, and it goes.

“The central goal of ordinary mindfulness is to let such thoughts come and go without experiencing pain, without holding onto them, and without turning them into monsters that eat us alive.”

But the goal of creative mindfulness, he explains, is “not only the nonjudgmental observation of your thoughts but complete right thinking that leads to authenticity, creativity, and mental health.

“The high ideal of creative mindfulness is to master ordinary mindfulness, in the sense in which Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others have described it, and to employ that mastery in the service of deep thought, rich action, and wide-awake living.”

Maisel enumerates six principles of creative mindfulness, including:

Fearlessly observe your thoughts. All of your excuses, all the ways you unhinge yourself, all of your dodges, all of your secret complaints and sources of pain, are right there in the thoughts you are thinking. Awaken to the knowledge of your own thoughts.

Free your neurons, empty your mind, and ready yourself for creating. Ordinary mindfulness is the observation of thought. Creative mindfulness requires that you vanish, your mind hushed, so that your creative thoughts can appear.

Open to an ever-deepening silence that is pregnant with your coming creative work.

Read more in article: Mindfulness, by Eric Maisel, PhD.

The image is from his book Ten Zen Seconds – see more books by Eric Maisel.

Also see Meditation and mindfulness articles.

Developing Creativity – Eric Maisel on Mindfulness

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2010). Developing Creativity – Eric Maisel on Mindfulness. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Jul 2010
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