Cultivating Freedom of Mind

Today’s blog is taken from my new book Creating the Impossible: A 90 Day Program to Get Your Dreams Out of Your Head and into the World.

One morning I was driving my daughter Maisy to school when she asked me, ‘If you had a dollar for every time you overthought things, how rich would you be?’

I laughed in recognition of the fact that in the economy of overthinkers, I would be a wealthy man indeed.
A bit later in the car ride, she noticed me staring off into space and said, ‘Now you’re overthinking how much you overthink things.’

Once again, she had me dead to rights.

Fortunately, I know enough not to deliberately think about how not to think so much, so after dropping her off I let my mind wander. Eventually it settled on a book I’d read many years ago, when I was first beginning to explore the relationship between personal success and our impersonal spiritual nature. It was called The Highest Goal, and was based on the Stanford creativity course taught by Professor Michael Ray.

Here’s how he wrote about it:

The highest goal is simply to be in this experience of connection or truth (no matter how you refer to it) all the time. That remains a goal, of course, because this is something you spend a lifetime working toward rather than attaining. But your commitment motivates, inspires and guides your journey, and gives you more and more time in this state of connection…

It is the experience you have when you first fall in love. Problems at work don’t seem to be such problems anymore. You can handle them. You can work productively with people you may have considered enemies. You see their goodness underneath the tough exterior. You’re in love. Everything looks, feels, is different.

This kind of resonance is catalytic. Similar to a chemical catalyst, which causes reactions without being diminished, it is endlessly generative. Once you realize that it has been there for you a number of times in your life, you begin to see the enormity of it. You see that you are operating in a world in which you can draw on grace. Once you see that possibility, you can begin to act with intention relative to the highest goal and better align your efforts with this generative process.

At first, people tend to experience that invisible spiritual energy bubbling up inside them as a resource – a spark that brings creative ideas to life. They ‘awaken the giant within’ and practice living their lives with ‘unlimited power.’ But over time, they recognize the energy as the source and themselves as the ultimate resource – a vehicle ‘to be used,’ in the words of the playwright George Bernard Shaw, ‘for a purpose recognized by ourselves as a mighty one.’

This is my own highest goal: to work in harmony with the highest and best I have inside me and live in and from the higher mind, basking in the glow of spirit and acting as a beacon of light in the world. 25 The Ultimate Resource And in all honesty, I’m terrible at it. As Maisy knows, I overthink pretty much everything. I try too hard. I get discouraged and downhearted. But then I find my feet again. Something new comes to mind and I remember that something new always comes to mind – it’s built into the system. I feel hope. I have fun. I move forward. I create.

And as soon as I forget that I’m supposed to be creative, I remember how much I love to get out of the way, open up to the creative flow, and find out what happens next.

This state of flow, or ‘freedom of mind,’ is how we’re designed to operate. It carries with it a sense of ease and clarity that brings out our common sense and leads to higher levels of performance in whatever we do. We become less distracted by our own thinking and more receptive to a deeper wisdom that comes through from somewhere beyond our brain’s collection of memories and personal thinking.

We’re less inclined to live in our head and more inclined to live in the moment. And because we’re spending more time living in the moment without too much on our mind, we see more clearly and connect more deeply with those around us. Life becomes more of a game to be played than a gauntlet to be survived, and we spend more and more time in the experience of creative flow.

To better understand how this works, imagine a pipe that is open at both ends. Water flows easily through it, and the bigger the pipe, the more water can flow through it.

Now imagine that the outflow of the pipe gets blocked. Water still comes in, but as it has nowhere to go, it begins to back up, and the pipe gets filled up and the flow gets backed up. Eventually, if the outflow stays blocked, either the pipe will lose its integrity and start springing leaks or the water will find another path out into the world.

Or imagine that the outflow is open but the intake is blocked. Depending on the size of the pipe, water will continue to flow out for a while, but after a time it will dry up.

This is what happens when we experience a creative block. In the first scenario, we keep inputting information and ideas from anywhere we can find them, but never actually get around to creating anything in the world.

Eventually, we get so overloaded that we feel that our head is going to explode and we shut down.

In the second scenario, we get cut off from the inspiration of the creative force and are forced to try and create from what we already know, which is a limited and ultimately non-renewable resource.

Here’s another way of looking at it:

There is a continual flow from the receptive to the creative and back again. It’s the dance between the feminine and the masculine, yin and yang, not doing and doing.

When we get stuck, it’s either because we’ve stopped listening to life and closed ourselves off from the creative force or because we’ve stopped acting on our creative inclinations. When we get out of the way and see what happens, the creative force inevitably comes through.

And over time, if we let it, that same creative force will expand and shape us into an ever more perfect conduit for creation.


Have fun, learn heaps, and happy creating!

With all my love,

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