Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Negation Techniques, Meditation, and Creativity

Creative Technique Series:
 Negation Techniques, Meditation, and Creativity

This article follows from a previous one called “The Mental Diverse is Composed of Many Minds” In this piece is a discussion of the problem of breaking out of certain sub-minds, breaking out of their myopia and obsession, and the relation to creativity.

Negation Techniques 
Being fully in a sub-mind is highly important, for if we are not submerged and focused in reason or emotion, then we cannot reap their fruits. A sub-mind might be reason, creativity, emotion, action, wisdom, memories, overall management, the subconscious etc. The Human brain is a kind of Diverse that houses a number of distinct mental departments. This complexity creates conflicts for us. 

At the same time, an important behavior is that of breaking from sub-minds. At a certain point we must leave behind reason for doing or imagination or wisdom or emotion, a problem can occur at this point because we have an inertia that wants to keep us in this sub-mind, it will not let go. 

The deeper we go into a perception the harder it is to break from it. The more we analyze, the more we want to continue, the more we are creative, the more we desire it....etc.  

Negation techniques are methods that allow us to break away from an over-focus. Negation techniques come in a variety of forms. 

Simple ones might consist of common activities which allow us to negate the power of a sub-mind --- taking a walk or a drive, eating, listening to music, napping, playing video games, exercising and so on. These simple negations allow the switching of tasks which would involve less use of the offending sub-mind. Essentially, what we are doing is hopping over to another part of the brain or to a combination of faculties. These negation techniques might be old habits or rituals. 

A more general negation technique is meditation. In the case of meditation, we are not simply trading one sub-mind use for another, or a combination of others, we are shutting off ALL sub-minds. 

While simple negation techniques move us around to another department in the brain, meditation throws us out of all departments. But this technique feels like a place, and indeed as we shall discuss below, it is located in the prefrontal cortex. 

Negation mind or meditation mind has a distinct quality and perception to it. It feels highly disconnected, it has a feeling of emptiness about it; it seems to be quite still. Why? Because it is not submerged in other persona, in memories or emotions or logic.  

Negation mind has a very special function in the whole mental system. It represents the polar opposite of all other brain behavior -- inactivity vs. activity, point view vs. no point of view. The duality between negation mind and other minds creates a kind of dynamic whole, a balanced mental device.

Addiction, obsession, euphoria
When one is “in” a sub-mind, you are caught up in its activity, you are entranced, obsessed, and perhaps in a sense addicted to its behavior. You get a euphoria. This is good in that you are driven to use this sub-mind more and get more products from it. It is bad in that you can go too far – for example, the tasks of this sub-mind are done and you must leave to another sub-mind in order to have the whole project completed.  
No sub-mind accepts the importance of other sub-minds, each is highly egotistical, myopic, competitive and jealous. The message that you must leave never comes from the sub-mind you are submerged within. It must come from without. Each sub-mind has a “Home Truth” that it zealously guards, and it condemns the “truths” of other minds. 

Where is this source of the message that breaks us out of the tunnel vision of a mental department? It is the prefrontal cortex. Here is a portion of the brain that is disconnected from all of the rest. In this region are managerial functions and decision making functions.  

Simple negation instructions come from this part of the mind whether it be take a walk or eat some cheesecake. General negation, that is, the instruction to meditate also comes from the prefrontal cortex. This disconnected part of the brain even feels disconnected. We gather information and make judgments from this region; disconnection and detachment are highly important mindsets to this activity. When we make our decisions we have general goals and rules and ethics that we refer too, also, we must refer to a sense of personal identity too.  

We also perform types of improvisation from this module – improvisation is a special from of detached activity of grasping at something or combinations of things, and then letting it go, in a repetitive action, that is, in a long sequence of acts, grasping, letting go, grasping, letting go and so on.  

Meditation also occupies this special province of the brain. When we are meditating, we are fully detached from the rest of the brain. We are not experiencing emotion, creativity, logic, memory, doing etc. We are blank. And this state feels like a definite sub-mind itself, a mind of “nothing”.  

(And as we shall see, meditation mind has its own myopia too.)

Focus and non-focus
Meditation mind while not focused on any particular activity, ironically, has a focus on its own nothingness. But this type of focus is very different than that of other sub-minds.  

Focus is very important for successful and productive brain activity. Too much focus, we know can lead to problems. So negation techniques can help with this.  

There is also the problem of no focus. Unfortunately, in modern society, media and entertainment have created the opposite problem of non-focus. A culture of the frenetic, chaotic, mobile and highly temporary is growing. In this type of world, one does not dwell in any mental sphere, one simply hops and skips around the brain, and never really settling down into a realm and getting down to business. In a kind of ADHD culture, the problem of non-focus grows. In this malady, an individual cannot think, create, learn about emotions, act and do, or examine an important memory because no time is allowed to stay in any mental spot. The result is a mind that craves constant motion around the brain and which ironically has little knowledge of any of the brain departments it sprints through. We have a sprinting ignoramus – ignorant of its own psychology. The old Buddhist metaphor of “monkey mind” arises.  

The solution to this problem is quite obvious – simply alter the presentation of media and entertainment so that this shallow mobile behavior is not encouraged. 

But let’s continue here with the discussion of negation and meditation. 

Negation mind
Negation mind will break you out of focused behaviors because it will disconnect you and throw you into a blank state that is not moving or obsessed. It takes you completely out of the active state. 

(Meditation can also disconnect you from non-focused activity -- we know that silence, stillness are antithetical to those in a state of non-focus. But it would be extremely hard to get someone with cultural ADHD to sit and meditate. The probable strategy might be to get them to first focus on some mind or some project, then to introduce meditation at a later date when the individual grasps the productive nature of focus and begins to reap its rewards)

Features of negation mind include:
-detachment, disconnection
-a sense of being outside yourself watching
-emptiness, nothingness
-stillness, lack of action
-lack of opinion or preconceived notion
-lack of emotion
-lack of reaction
-lack of concern

Time is no longer felt as force or impetus that drives you; time is now outside of you, it now feels like a current, a river. You are flowing but there is no goal or end point, the river seems aimless.  

One does not shut out all thoughts, the mind spontaneously will throw out ideas, images, chatter but the meditation mind will be outside them. It will observe them, and not enter into the monologue thus making it a dialogue. It hears and ignores the talk.  

This mental state seems to have a wall put up to the world and to inner thoughts. It does not take things in, it merely observes in a superficial way outside events. Not reacting to events is a fundamental feature of this mind.  

Also, not learning is another quality of this behavior. To learn is to enter into a thought, examine some information, react to a stimulus, but negation mind will not do this. Thus, it cannot learn from things on the other side of the barrier it sets up. Logic, creativity and so on have the capacity to learn.  

Meditation prevents all ingress. And also it prevents all egress, for this mind does not act on the world either. It is fully disconnected, its wall stops all traffic both ways.  

But of course, meditation does learn to improve its techniques, so there is learning. But this is internal to itself, while other new things are outside of its sphere of living.  

Meditation overlaps with creativity
One can see that meditation has some overlap with creativity. Not only that it helps you break out of the myopia of a sub-mind, but also that meditation lives in a kind of emptiness.  

This vacuum provides a lack of preconception. When you examine an idea or thing or situation or person you tend to have no fixed opinions, no prejudgments as if you are seeing something for the first time. Preconception tends to reduce an entity down to a singular aspect. One slots another human being into a category, an object is pigeon holed into a certain use and so on.  

Meditation restores the variety of an entity. Things, ideas, people and conditions are manifold by nature, they are diverse, they are complex, many sided. But in ordinary life we tend to reduce these complexes down to a very few or just one feature or interpretation. The emptiness of meditation retrieves the variety of the world so that we see many aspects, many meanings, many uses of a singular phenomenon.  

This leads to new ideas because the mind is unfettered. There are new observations.
What follows then is a burst of imagination about the identity of this thing or its uses or its evolutionary path.  

Also, a related notion: It should be noted that when someone confronts something that is actually “new”, one has no explanation or understanding of its essential nature. Because the phenomenon is “new”, it by definition is unknown and without prior analysis. This means that to describe something novel one commits an act of creativity and imagination, because there is nothing in the mental or social toolbox to describe this new thing. So when we are confronted with truly new things or through a state of no preconception we are confronted with something that no longer has a tag, we thrown into the realm of creativity.  

Negation mind, philosophy and religion
As said before, there are two levels of negation mind. The first is a simple or specific disconnect from prior activity. The very act of breaking off to take a walk could in a small way this might be like the larger act of negation committed by meditation mind.

(Of course, on the other hand, there may be the substitute of another addiction or bad habit, but that is another issue....)  

The second and more profound negation is more general, this is meditation. In this state we are in the very same state exalted of certain religions, denominations and practices.  

Here we are in more generalized behavior. If one frequents this state, it becomes a personality of the practitioner. Just as when we frequent the state of logic we become logical, or when we frequent emotion we become more sensitive and passionate.  

This meditation personality takes on its own paradigm and home truth and “ego”.  

Negation mind can them move into its own philosophic framework or religion.  
(Note that each sub-mind has the capacity to generate its own “religion”. In history there are theologies and philosophies of reason and creativity. Even emotion has provided its paradigms of behavior, and the theology of some religious denominations are certainly rooted in emotion rather than the biases of other sub-minds. Shamanism and tribal religions certainly have developed perspectives based in the subconscious...and so on.)

Negation mind holds up certain ideal behaviors, primary virtues and valued skills. Meditation mind has its own view of truth: Emptiness. Its ego has no desire, it lets go. One’s quest is an ever growing detachment. Freedom is the absence of connection, ultimate freedom is the absolute lack of attachment.  

Purely disconnected one sees everything most clearly. One is free of desires, thoughts, reason, emotions, passions, memories, dreams, signs and voices, imagination etc. These are all behaviors essentially of all other sub-minds. One is free of identity and personality.  

So what may start out as a technique to manage the whole brain has the tendency to evolve into a distinct and separate paradigm. The danger is that we have created another myopia to contend with as we are escaping all of the other myopias.  

The trick and the technique is to use meditation to break with other minds, and get clarity of issues and plans, then to move back into other sub-minds to produce the products of these fertile regions – logic, creativity, passion etc.  

At a certain point other sub-minds will beckon, they will want employment, you will become bored with disconnection and want the energy and excitement of other behaviors, and necessity will demand you use your whole mind to complete a plan or project. If you are able to travel this cycle repeatedly, you will become more adept at maneuvering yourself, hearing the cues, and using your will to shift yourself over. A kind of skill-memory will build up.  

The benefit of the negation mind you will carry with you, because it will offer you a standing sort of perspective in the background, which will not allow you to go too far, and help you pull out when it is time to leave a mental department.  

This negation then comes in two types: One type is the full meditative negation. A second type is a kind of partial meditation that you are always carrying with you. This second form is detached but not too detached, that is, it is does not oppose the attachment of logic, creativity or emotion etc – it works with these in a dialogue of both agreements and arguments. This ever present meditation, however, can only be developed by practicing complete meditation, once the behavior is established one can carry it around in all activities.  

Negation mind does have a negative side. If one goes to the extreme of the behavior, you might find a lack of passion, apathy, floating without plan or goal, a depression of emptiness, and so on. Even in religions that use meditation this is recognized and measures are created to prevent this downslide.

Mediation and Creativity
Meditation is a powerful tool to manage your whole mind, and specifically to enhance your creativity. Meditation can help you break from the logical mind and enter your creative mind. Also, it can help you exit your creative mind to utilize the advice of your rational mind, so that you can finish practical projects. More, meditation can put you in a disconnected state to give you rest, new perspective and help you make important creative decisions.  

Also, a meditative mind can be carried around by you in the background, so that you restrain the impulse of obsession as you work in other minds.  

Further, meditation also puts you in a state of no preconception which allows you to break from dogma and categories to look at something afresh. And related, meditation helps you see the diversity and complexity of the world again when our everyday behaviors reduce ideas, objects, conditions and people to singular aspects and features.  

Lastly, meditation gives you the “new”, it helps you to see things from a new perspective, and then challenges you to understand and explain this new phenomenon, and this requires a creative act on your part....because the “new” has not been understood before by you.

Cage Innoye

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