Meditating can often feel difficult. Staying focused on the breath and not getting lost in thought is incredibly challenging at times. We can, however, do a different type of meditation, which is to really focus on a repetitive task.
A key purpose of meditation is simply to give the thinking brain a break. The brain actually gets tired and becomes less efficient when we overuse the executive function and underutilize other functions, such as creativity. However, meditation also serves an even deeper purpose – allowing the subconscious to communicate unrecognized feelings, motivations, desires, dreams, and awareness of the body. The unconscious often communicates through symbols, images, and color: all of which has meaning. When we tune in, we can discover so much untapped information that aids us in moving forward towards our best selves.
Unfortunately, the brain is very busy and has a lot of channels, much like a television, cycling through an incredible number of thoughts and tons of information that we take in, our reactions to that information, and our reactions to our reactions. So, when trying to quiet these thought-channels, giving them something to focus on beyond breathing is incredibly helpful. Drawing and painting while listening to music activates the creative brain function, but being an artist isn’t necessary. The act of creating the art itself is incalculable, tapping into a part of the self that allows freeform thought and action. Allowing yourself to simply create without judging any part of the process moves you into a different brain wave state that relaxes.
Coloring has recently become very popular, but knitting, sewing, and my favorite dot mandalas are also wonderful ways to tap deeply into a rhythmic repetition that is very soothing. Plus, these methods require no special training (plenty of how-to videos), and the results are beautiful. The repetitive motions combined with creating the pattern allows the mind to truly disengage and the act becomes hypnotic.
Adding music provides the additional benefit of releasing dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter, which can reduce blood pressure and anxiety while increasing mental and physical relaxation. Meditative creation allows us to enter FLOW state and can be achieved through total immersion in what you are doing. Loose all track of time and increase life satisfaction, relaxation, and better brain functioning overall.
Cheers to the FLOW of meditative creativity!