Dr. Charles T. Tart, Mindfulness, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology,
Lecture 2, Part 9 of 15 parts. To start class from beginning, click here.
Student: I just had a question on where creative expression falls in the spectrum? Because I think –
CTT: Where creative expression falls?
Student: In the past I feel like my mindfulness practices have been drawing. I find that that clears my head more than anything else. Is that a valid way of practicing this, or is this some form that isn’t as fruitful?
CTT: I can’t answer that very specifically because I’ve never been able to draw anything worth a damn! But I suspect that if meditation practices were really individualized to draw on an individual’s strengths and avoid their weaknesses, that you could discover in everybody some kind of thing that really helps them focus and turn that into a kind of meditation. The one thing you’d want to be careful of is can they generalize it into something that doesn’t depend on having the external props. Because if a crisis comes along, you can’t say “Wait a minute, Mr. Attacker, I have to get into the lotus posture here or get out my drawing materials in order to get my mind composed to deal with this in a more mindful sort of way.” 😉
You want to start generalizing that skill to focus out to life, but probably every one of us has something that really involves us. Look up the work of the psychologist Csíkszentmihályi on flow. Flow activity, I don’t know whether that is the same as meditation practice or not…
Student: It requires focus.
CTT: Or something like that. But what Csíkszentmihályi basically found is that people are very happy when they’re given a task that is demanding enough that they really have to concentrate to do it, but not so demanding that they can’t do it. We like to be pushed toward our limits, and function up at the high end, and we feel that things really flow. That’s clearly a desirable state. Whether it’s the same thing as what’s produced in meditation, I don’t think we know enough to make the comparison yet.