By Lucia Amsden


This meditation focuses on two powerful tools, observation and creativity, that help us accomplish the cleaning of the “windows of the mind.” That was in the former discussion.

First, I stay present in the moment and listen to the thoughts that are rattling around in my mind. As I regularly do this, I begin to take notice of which recurring thoughts take me in a positive direction, and which tug me toward cycles of worry and fatigue. I am learning to better understand the differences between them, and how they make me feel. Then I can begin to use my creativity to make healthy changes.

One of the great gifts of being human is our creativity; it allows us to imagine our best nature. We can conceive of who we want to be, and work toward altering the narratives in our minds to help get us there. Of course, as we know so well, some things are easier said than done.

When I find myself immersed in negative thoughts, such as worrying about undesirable situations or dwelling on judgements that diminish me, I choose to gently quiet them and replace them with positivity. When I make a mistake, for instance, instead of dwelling on the error, I move my focus toward learning from it, correcting things where possible, and moving on.

Over the years, I have worked to shape my self-image toward being a person who is resilient, kind, and unconditionally caring about myself and others, and affirmations have been very helpful. Something I often say to myself first thing in the morning, for instance is, “I am safe, healthy, productive, and prosperous under all circumstances.” I particularly focus on the words, “under all circumstances.” They remind me to hold steady, no matter what my life may contain.

Gradually, the passing clouds of anxious thoughts or worries that arise and burden me are clearing. And I know I must be patient because the process is gradual; I am re-training aspects of my mind that have developed and been running automatically for a long time.

I also know that training my brain to carry good thoughts won’t happen by rote recitations of words. The words must be accompanied by feelings of commitment and belief. When I do this regularly, though, my brain begins to see them as true.

Tapping into our creativity also helps the process because it gives us respite from negativity and worry. The creative process can place us in a positive mental flow that temporarily shuts down the nagging voices of negativity and worry. Over time, it helps us diminish our negativity.

For example, though I am one among the chorus of people who don’t feel they have an artistic bone in their bodies, I have recently embarked on a new art adventure called Zentangling, that is similar to the doodling that many of us do at times of stress or boredom. With a friend’s encouragement and the tool of an online course, pen, paper, and colored pencils, I gave it a try and am now an enthusiastic practitioner.

Zentangling is an easy and relaxing way for me to tap into my creativity and relax. It involves combining structured patterns (tangles) of lines and circles to create beautiful designs. After practicing a few tangles and developing patterns, I discover how intriguing to see emerging designs from my creating.

There is no right or wrong to it and if my drawing isn’t quite the way I want, I add a new line or circle or two to see what happens. I love the free flow of the meditative zone where my mind and body relax and I artistically play.

It doesn’t matter how we express our creativity. Whether it’s painting or writing poetry or gardening, or any creative process, it is a wonderful way to still our worried thoughts and clean the windows of our minds. It also allows those of us who might think of ourselves as uncreative to discover that we, like everyone, have a creative spirit. Anyone can find ways to express their unique nature, and what a wonderful surprise it can be. It certainly has been for me.

So three cheers for us when we integrate in life a creative pursuit, and on occasion let all the urgent doings of the day take a back seat. – Meditations