One definition of being human we can all probably agree upon is that we are creatures that think. From the lowliest to the lofty, we all experience an inner process whereby we digest information and come to conclusions that have direct bearing upon how we perceive and act upon the world. Since it is a process that is integral to the human experience, it is an essential area of concern for those who seek inner development, Spiritual Evolution.
The journey to NOW requires us to learn to think in new ways, creative ways that will enable us to leave behind our old perceptions of reality and begin acting upon the world from a new perspective. The first step in coming to Creative Thinking is the determination of what it is not!
The first phenomena we come upon is dualistic thinking. Here we only think in twos: right/left, up/down, black/white, Republican/Democrat, right/left, right/wrong, this/that, these are but a few examples of how we attempt to reduce the universe of perception down to two choices. Notice how, when you have a decision to make, there frequently are only two alternatives. Consider what would open up if the effort was made to find a third or fourth choice. When we release our focus from dualistic limitations, we discover there are many ways of seeing the same situation, each with its own validity.
Then there is associative thinking. This is connected to an automatic process where we label incoming sensory impressions. We scan the environment connecting words to each object that attracts our attention. What usually follows is a string of automatic associations. Look at a flower, we identify it as a rose, we compare it to other roses in our memory, or associate to where we last saw a rose, that goes to our reason for being there, what else we saw there, who we met there…etc. It is endless. Sensory impressions enter, the mind continuously labels and associates.
This type of mental activity is characterized by its lack of direction or intention. Our mind seems to continuously generate its own activity. It is a form of self-stimulation that seems to have a life of its own, like an endless talk radio show, commenting, judging, comparing, criticizing, and complaining with no particular purpose or direction.
Neither dualistic, associative mental processing nor labeling is true thinking. Connecting a word to an object or phenomena does not of itself bring any understanding. True Creative Thinking is something entirely different.
First, and most essential, is an existence in-the-moment. Nothing creative can occur when our attention is focused into the past or the future. When our Consciousness is fragmented through multitasking attention away from Now. Then, there must be an aim, a direction. So much of what passes for thinking has no purpose and is self-serving. Then we must realize that there is more to thinking than intellectual activity. Real thought, when it has any power, has an emotional element. So, we must align the head and the heart. If these two are not pulling together we will not get off square one.
These steps establish an empty space within by setting aside the usual mental noise of dualistic quarreling, labeling and associative meandering. We realize no true solution to anything is going to come from constantly churning old information. Here is where we learn to listen, listen to what some call gut instinct, others intuition, I call it Inner Guidance. Einstein was once asked how he “figured out” the Theory of Relativity. He was quick to say he didn’t figure it out, it came to him. He was listening. Further research would show that this is generally true. All innovations come through but not from the mind. All creative people listen, deeply, internally, building a relationship to the unseen world that constantly watches over us. Develop the habit of quieting the mind, asking for direction, then listening for guidance. Become an instrument of the Unseen.