Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wake Up to What’s Been Here All Along

The creative mind is open twenty four hours a day.

Even when you’re sleeping.

And if you want to become a prolific creator, you have to practice being proactive with your unconscious mind. You have to view it as idea processor, waiting at your beck and call, begging you to assign it a problem so it can immediately go to work for you.

Eric Maisel, psychologist and creativity coach, pioneered a revolutionary personal development program called sleep thinking. It’s where your brain continues to work on the issues and problems that matter to you, but while you sleep. By repeating silent questions to yourself as you drift off to dreamland, you’re actually communicating with yourself about your own thoughts and feelings. Even if you’re lying unconscious in a puddle of your own drool.

Maisel’s hypothesis is, since the brain’s natural way of working is to perform various functions while you sleep, productive thinking may as well be one of them. You simply have to surrender yourself each night to learning about your own life and what it needs from you. You have to be willing yourself to apply all of your native intelligence to the task. And you have to be willing to confront issues you’re afraid to know about yourself.

That way, you can wake up to what’s been here all along.

I’ve done Sleep Thinking several times, and had great success with the program. I found myself feeling more inspired, lucid, insightful and most importantly, relaxed with the creative process. Nothing beats waking up with good ideas every morning.

Eric’s framework does, however, require a heaping amount of patience with yourself. And it takes about a week on average before anything interesting happens. But that’s par for the course for any creator. Once you develop that cognitive muscle, you’ll never want to go back. 

In time, you'll find that the simple process of asking yourself meaningful questions as you fall asleep, keeping a dream journal and then mining those experiences for insight and perspective, is a powerful way to actively help your material to work on you.

That way, you can wake up to what’s been here all along.