Here are five
techniques you can use to intensify the preparation and incubation
stages of the creativity process. They represent state-of-the-art
reprogramming tools for consciously working with the unconscious.
After the description of each technique is a brief exercise to
experientially introduce you to the technique. Choose the ones that are
most interesting and most appropriate for you at the present moment in
your life. You may try others at a later time. But no matter what, enjoy
them and adapt them to your own situation.
involve both verbally
and non-verbally affirming those thing that you want in your life;
that is, giving positive attention, energy, and intention to those
things you deeply desire, and, at the same time, withdrawing
attention, energy, and intention from those things you dont want. The
practice of affirmation is one of the most powerful methods for taking
responsibility for the images, beliefs, values, and "general stuff"
that inhabits your mind.
Try this simple exercise and see what happens--
List 5 things in
your life that you don't like or that you wish were different.
Make a second list
of 5 things in your life that please you immensely.
Make a third list
which transforms the 5 items on the first list into what you want in
Choose one item on
the third list. Write a short statement affirming what you desire as
if it were already present in your life (keep working on the
affirmation until it feels right to you).
At least once a day
say the statement to yourself trying to imagine as vividly as you can
what it is affirming.
At the end of one
week notice any changes in the original item.
is probably the most
direct conscious work you can do with the unconscious dimensions of
the mind. It generally involves using the "mind's eye" to imagine a
variety of states of consciousness that go beyond the limits and
routines of our ordinary, everyday awareness. These are often states
of greater openness to deeper knowings and innate wisdom than those of
which we are ordinarily aware.
following imagination exercise and see what happens--
Play some soft, instrumental music in the background,
close your eyes, breathe deeply from your abdomen, and relax as
completely as you can.
When you feel ready, imagine that you are sitting in a comfortable
room which has everything in it your heart desires. Take a few minutes
to imagine it as vividly as you can.
One thing in the room is a large projection TV. Position yourself in
front of the TV and turn it on.
Turn the channels until you find a program that you intuit can
assist you in dealing with some challenging or problematic situation
in your life.
Take time to watch the program, simply observing and receiving
WHATEVER may be there for you. In addition to verbal images, pay
attention to colors, images, patterns, shapes, smells, sounds, and
tastes that may come to you.
When the program has finished, turn off the TV and spend a few
minutes reflecting on the program.
When you are ready, slowly bring yourself back to the present time
and place, and spend a few minutes jotting down as much as you can
remember about the time in this inner room. (Remember--you can return
to this room anytime you want or need to!)
involves using the mind
to relax the body, thus ridding ourselves of the so-called "normal"
stress and anxieties of daily life. In The Relaxation Response,
Dr. Herbert Benson, director of a Harvard Medical School research
team, coined the words "the relaxation response" to describe this
state. The relaxation response produces a state of openness and
alertness to the inner world and to imagery from the unconscious--
symbols, signs, and metaphors. In this state the ordinary analytical
mind is "off line", so to speak.
relaxation method consists of four basic elements.
Why not try it?
1. A quiet
Find a peaceful, quiet place, relatively free of distracting noise and
comfortable position. Get as comfortable as possible without lying down,
which could induce sleep.
3. A mental
Decide on a specific object to focus your attention, e.g. a symbol,
picture, natural object, an art piece, etc.
4. A passive
Pretend you are an outside observer of yourself. Simply watch
yourself. Do not forcing anything--just watch your thoughts and
feelings until they quiet down on their own.
What's the point? First, just enjoyment. But second, relaxation is
conducive to states of consciousness that are gateways to "the
simply learning to pay attention to the content of your dreams. Some
have said that the unconscious "speaks" most directly to us in our
dreams. However, we must learn to hear and understand what is being
communicated. We must learn to interpret. No one can interpret your
dreams for you. Begin learning to remember your dreams by recording
them in a dream log or journal. Later look for patterns, symbols,
events, etc. that seem to repeat themselves in your dreams. When you
notice this, is the time to begin asking what it means and what
insights are being communicated.
Creativity, Dr. Willis Harman summarizes five key steps for
effective dream work that have come out of many research experiments.
1. The "I'm
listening" stage: the conscious intention to remember our dreams and to
take them seriously.
2. Learning to tune into & receive dreams: practice in
remembering dream episodes.
3. Decoding &
clarifying dreams: working to understand your own personal dream imagery.
4. Lucid dreaming: becoming an active, aware participant in
your dreams as they occur, including giving them direction.
dream messages into daily life: learning to guide yourself using wisdom and
knowings from both the conscious and unconscious parts of the self.
Experiment with keeping a dream log or journal?
Choose a means of
recording your dreams and put it by your bed-- a tape recorder or a
Write the date before going to sleep.
Repeat your intention to remember your dreams , either verbally to
yourself or write it in your journal, just before you go to sleep.
When you awaken, try to reenter the dream. In your mind's eye, try
to reconstruct the dream as vividly as possible.
In your journal or on the tape, record EVERY thought, phrase, word,
image, or emotion you can recall. Do this whenever you awaken from a
dream, even in the middle of the night .
After a couple of weeks, read over the notes or listen to the tapes,
asking yourself what various things might mean.
Don't let yourself
get discouraged. This takes practice. It also takes time for your
unconscious to realize that you are desiring communication and that
you are willing to listen.
MULTI-SENSING, while not in and of itself a
separate tool or technique, is an important practice for "turning on"
our full creative potential. Multi-sensing should be used whenever and
however possible in each of the techniques or tools mentioned above.
Simply put, multi-sensing is the practice of "inputting" and
"listening" on as many levels of your being as possible. This involves
not only logical, rational, analytical thinking about a problem or
concern, but also such activities as drawing, painting, role playing,
creative dance and body movement, music, working with clay,
meditation, talking with other people, etc.--anything that will enable
you to approach your problems and challenges on multiple levels.
Research into this
multi-modal approach to living has shown that the more levels which
you engage and activate when faced with a problem or challenge, the
greater the possibilities of creative breakthrough to genuinely new
it look like to use a multi-sensory approach in working with the
"reprogramming" techniques we have been discussing?
Affirmations can be created not only in written and spoken form , but
images, such as a picture or symbol, of your affirmation;
experimenting with doing your affirmation with your physical body
(e.g. in a certain way of walking that "embodies" what you are
affirming or in a gesture);
connecting your affirmation with sound (e.g. music you associate
with the affirmation you are making, or maybe various sounds/rhythms
you can make);
in your imagination visualize your affirmation as fully present in
your life and notice the difference it makes;
spend time in silent meditation on your affirmation--just being with
it and letting it be with you.
Imagery & Visualization can be done in such a way that you intentionally
engage all of the senses in a visualization you are doing by
internally seeing everything you can--colors, shapes, images.;
listening to the sounds associated with your visualizing--music,
environmental sounds, voices., tones;
noticing aromas you are smelling and flavors you are tasting;
paying special attention to your emotional/ feeling states;
reaching out in your mind's eye and touching what you are
visualizing; be- coming aware of textures;
in your body, noticing physical motion or movements that are
associated with your visualization.
Relaxation which engages all of the senses is similar to visualization
the focus of the
"mental device" can be with all of the senses;
when you are engaged in "being the outside observer" (passive
attitude), observe yourself on as many levels of your being as you
can--not just thoughts and feelings.
Dream work, and
more specifically, dreaming itself, usually happens in a multi-sensory
way of its own accord. In trying to harvest the insights and wisdom of
your dreams you could--
when writing in
your dream journal, include visual images in addition to what you
write--drawing, painting, designs, patterns, color;
when "reentering the dream" (see above), follow the multi-sensory
suggestions for Guided Imagery and Visualization;
when beginning the dream meaning/interpretation stage, look for
connections on multiple levels, not only with your ordinary thought
processes, but include the full range of the senses, intuition, and an
awareness of inner, spiritual realities as well.