The Mindfulness Creativity Link

A Mindfulness Experience

Linking Creativity To Mindfulness

In my first mindfulness workshop, we learned to be mindful about a raisin. We first were asked to pick a raisin from a box. The raisins in the box didn’t have the same size or color. Some of us just randomly grabbed one, others made a conscious decision which one they wanted to pick. Our teacher then told us to touch our raisin, to feel the wrinkly skin, to explore the squishiness when you press it together, to sense the stickiness when you roll it over in your palm. And then to raisin in palmour surprise we listened to the sound of it. Some people in the room started giggling. Yes, how amusing can a raisin possibly be? I guess you never listened to a raisin before. And then, finally, we got to eat the raisin. But of course we didn’t just chew it. We first had to let our tongue run over it, notice how different the skin of the raisin felt against our tongue compared to our fingers, being aware of the saliva that kept accumulating around the raisin. And then, at last, our teeth started grinding up this tiny food, just as we had anticipated we would do throughout the previous 10 minutes. We swallowed after many bites and tasted the echo of the vanished raisin in our mouth.

When we talked about this experience, two people admitted that they hadn’t eaten a raisin in over 10 years because they hate them. But they both found the experience pleasurable this time. Almost everyone agreed that the flavorful sensation was much more intense and rich then they had ever experienced. In this mindfulness practice we discovered many new insights about an object that we all were convinced we already knew.

Mindfulness and Creativity

And it struck me how similar this was to the creative process. Discovering novelty amongst what is already known is a part of all creative work. The act of creating implies discovering something new, which usually means finding a new combination of ideas that already exist. We don’t have to invent the wheel from scratch, but we mix elements, blend concepts in a new way.

When a songwriter writes a song, he or she might use words we all know and bring them together to form images that are new. In the song “Pedestrian at Best,” the singer  Courtney Barnett has a line that reads, “Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey.”  A composer chooses a chord progression that might not be new but by bringing the chords together in new ways with lyrics, the choice of instruments, and the beat, something new might arise that might sound like the raisin that had never been tasted before.

Mindfulness and creativity are sisters in many ways. There is a connection that makes it look like they are two sides of the same coin. They both foster curiosity and an open mind, and both unveil a new perspective to the world that we already thought we knew.

If you would like to do a meditation to improve your creativity now, listen to my recordings of meditations to stimulate positive thinking.


This article is the first part of a series about mindfulness and creativity.

Part 2: Creative Spark Podcast – Interview with Jenn Fairbank, co-CEO of Cornerstone Mindfulness

Part 3: Can mindfulness increase creativity? – An overview of recent studies and research

Part 4: How to use mindfulness to optimize the creative process 


Photo by Les Jay on Unsplash



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