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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.

John Cleese, one of the creators of Monty Python, outlines “the five factors that you can arrange to make your lives more creative.” The first four, at least, are common results of a meditation practice:
  1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
  2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
  3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
  4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
  5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)
Many meditators would argue that practice also inevitably leads to #5. When you watch your mind operating, sometimes the only appropriate response is laughter.

(Cleese is on the far left in the photo of Monty Python's Flying Circus from April 1976. From left to right: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones.