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CREATIVITY IN ACTION

Updated: Jan 29, 2019

A New Model of Mental Pregnancy

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the creative process, and being that way inclined myself, have sought out sources that describe it in a way to permit its utilization in an optimized form.

The best book by far on the subject that I’ve come across is Ghishelin’s, ‘The Creative Process: A Synopsium’, which provides personal accounts of highly creative individuals throughout history and includes the likes of the renowned mathematician Henri Poincare as well as Mozart, Einstein, Rudyard Kipling and Carl Gustav Jung.

Following a discussion on the topic with a friend in the early hours of Sunday morning, a model of the process popped into my mind. I hope the outline of it I provide below will prove useful in opening the doors of your own creative perception and actualization:

PHASE 1: INSEMINATION/EXPLORATION, ULTRA-FILTRATION AND FERTILIZATION i.e. the divergent thinking phase

This is the research phase. During this period, I literally devour books (i.e. mental insemination). How do I know what to look for? I don’t. Have you ever really craved something random that you haven’t had in a while- like say, prunes. And it's not until you see them that you know you’ve just got to have them. And once you do, you’re satisfied. Totally sated. Complete.

It’s like that.

You search, you discover, you’re satisfied. Momentarily.

For me this process can go on for weeks-on-end and keep me awake until the early hours of the morning (ask my wife - she complains that my typing and eating keeps her awake).

And then you have a couple of nights without this obsessional pursuit.

That’s when your mind begins to filter the material you’ve gathered. In medical terminology, this high pressure filtration is known as ultra-filtration and usually occurs in the kidneys, which separate the chemicals to be excreted from those to be kept; the gross from the fine if you will.


"To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. -- William Blake

Filtration separates material from three sources: your subconscious mind (past experiences and history), your conscious mind (this is the process you actively took part in) and the super-conscious mind (also known as intuition).

I won’t go into the scientific evidence for intuition. I’m experiencing it as I write this and have had entire poems enter my mind at once. Numerous artists and musicians know what I’m talking about. Those of you familiar with Aldous Huxley know he spoke of it when he said, ‘once the doors of perception are cleansed, you see everything as it actually is; Infinite’. And the famous artist William Blake referred to it in his words, "To see a World in a Grain of Sand, And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour."

So how to develop super-conscious perception? Meditation did the trick for me. As did Taoist yoga. And Leonard Mlodinow’s book ‘Elastic’ has tips on how to support and nurture its activity.


Material from these three sources coalesce to fertilize the ripe and ready mind.

PHASE 2: INCUBATION (i.e CONDENSATION --> COAGULATION--> GERMINATION)

This is the chill out phase. Or so it seems:


When Leonardo Da Vinci was accused of being lazy as he laid down staring at the ceiling in between half-completed paintings, he knew exactly what he was doing. In this phase, all that filtered material slowly condenses in the chambers of your mind before coagulating into tangible insights and ‘aha’ moments which take root and germinate into complex and nuanced ideas.

This is actually the most important phase, yet the most frequently disrupted. It’s different from daydreaming in that it’s preceded by active engagement but it does require mental wandering.

Flashes of insight appear out of nowhere or rather, out of the 'spaciousness' you have manufactured. This is an exciting time.


The practical artist or creator unites both approaches; delicacy and rigor, style and strategy, chaos and order. Into one.

PHASE 3: CRYSTALLIZATION/BIRTH i.e. the convergent phase

This is the phase that actually annoys me the most. The insights have reached term and are desperate to be manifested in the world of matter, the temporal realm. You can’t sleep. You can’t focus. You can't do anything else until the creation is out. Your head feels like it will explode if you don’t get this created being out of your head.

So you’re compelled to act. To make the ideal real. To bring Heaven (the realm of mind) down to Earth (the realm of matter) as Beethoven put it.

You forcefully eject the creation, then tweak and tweak and tweak. Until what is outside matches the image that you perceived within; until Plato’s World of Ideas is as perfect without as it was within.


This period utilitizes the combination of faculties that IQ tests measure and Western education develops - the strategic, focused, rational faculties. But it might come as a surprise to know that they're just as essential to the artist as is his/her usual lateral thinking and without them, dreams remain but fantasies. Similarly, pure rationality without the anterior divergent aspect is sterile and unoriginal. The practical artist or creator unites both approaches; delicacy and rigor, style and strategy, chaos and order. Into one.

Once this phase is complete, there’s a short period of peace, of relaxation. There’s the joy of accomplishment combined with the immense satisfaction and jubilation of creation.

Until you are seized again by the neck and summoned once more.

To create.

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