Do you ever have one of those Ah-ha! moments when you listen to a podcast? I’d like to share with you one I had recently that led me to a new practice.
In a recent SuperSoul conversation with Deepak Chopra, Oprah was reading him listener questions about meditation.
“Is it okay to visualize your dreams during meditation?” one of the listeners asked.
Deepak responded, “Do it before meditation. Otherwise you are activating the mind.”
This made sense to me.
I’ve been practicing breathing meditation for about a year now and I’ve come to understand that the purpose is to just notice when your chattering mind gets active, and then return to focusing on the present moment. Certainly, some days my chatterbox is quite active and staying present is a challenge.
But it was Mr. Chopra’s suggestion to “do it (dream visualization) before meditation” that got my attention.
I’d been experimenting with adding creativity practices like doodling into my daily routine, and this sounded to me like an invitation.
“Ah-ha!” I thought.
And so my daily dream practice was born.
For me what’s most important is that I tinker, I paint, I draw and I make things. So I decided on one basic rule during my dreaming: Imagine myself creating something.
This means being open to any and all creative inspirations that might show up.
My typical practice lasts ten to fifteen minutes. On some days the inspirations come quickly and in just ten minutes I’ll have four or five I write down in my journal. On other days it may take more time and I find only a couple.
On rare days, no inspirations come forth. But on those days I don’t despair. I just try to think of an activity I can do later that might help me get inspired, like reading a random book from my bookshelf or visiting the arts and crafts boards on Pinterest.
Whether I have many inspirations or none, I always write something in my journal as a way to close out the practice.
I believe this practice is particularly effective for Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs).
My experience from doing the dream practice is that I feel my whole body react when a wonderful inspiration pops into my mind. It’s almost a shimmering feeling.
Being HSP has definitely made me more aware of what my body is feeling when I am visualizing.
I mentioned that my rule is to imagine myself being creative, but the corollary to that rule is also: Don’t drift off and think of something else. This is where my experience with meditation is super helpful.
When my dream practice mind drifts to work or worry or politics or anything other than creating, I find I notice it pretty quickly. I simply tell myself, ‘I can think of that thought later and I get back to thinking about creating.’
Here’s the cool thing. By doing my dream practice right before meditation, I find that my mind is now quieter during meditation. My guess is that allowing the mind to be creative expends some of that natural chatterbox energy that sometimes shows up during meditation.
So the dream practice makes my meditation practice easier, and meditation helps me have a better dream practice. They reinforce each other. How cool is that!?
The bonus in all this is that imagining being creative leads to more creating. At the end of the workday, I find that I still have energy to be creative and make something. Often it’s something that I imagined earlier that day in my dream practice.
Have you tried a daily dream practice or something similar before meditating? What about other practices to bolster your creativity? Let me know in the comments.