Educating creativity, whether in young learners or adults, ratchets the human mind to higher levels of empowerment. When imagination’s sensitivities to patterns are heightened, capacities for meaningful insights and creative leaps are enhanced. Creativity’s reflections and insights are built by taking time to observe, within and without. Psychologist R.D. Laing noted insightful observation’s importance, stating “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice.” Heightened observation’s capacity to recognize patterns and draw fresh insights is the creative mind’s pathway to fresh art’s mythic, lasting qualities of universality.
Essential to all the arts
Deep reflection and its resultant capacities for meaningful concepts and insightful patterns penetrate all genres of creativity. The deep insights of photographers, artists, and sculptors are reflected metaphorical strengths that empower their visual images. Poets and wordsmiths are verbal experts at penetrating patterns and creating new meaning from their insights. Poet Barry Lopez wrote with insightful awe that “Against the background of the familiar, we recognize with astonishment a new pattern.”
Steps toward deep reflection
Human imaginations are eager to discover fresh meaning. However, modern life’s swift and demanding rhythms often work counter to the reflective needs of imagination’s growth. Honing creativity requires taking time for the process of deep reflection. Its seemingly simple steps can prove to be social and personal challenges.
- Take time for curiosity and reflection.
- Focus and allow for deep observation.
- Be patient and open to “leaps” of insight.
Take time to listen
Heightened imaginative focus, not unlike deep mediation, takes time. William Stafford recognized that “Knowing” takes patience and wrote, “To know the other world you turn/your hand the way a bird finds angles/of the wind.” Poet Mary Oliver, too, noted this need for pause and reach in writing, stating that “I was leaning out; I was listening.” And writer Natalie Goldberg declared, “The deeper you can listen the better you can write.” The fresh mental awareness of deep reflection penetrates into insights of patterns and meaning; it grounds fresh creativity.
Take time to build creativity. The building, itself, is a rewarding process that fosters both self-awareness and world-awareness. This integration of inward and outward is reflected in French painter Paul Gauguin’s statement, “I shut my eyes in order to see.” Naturalist Rachel Carson recognized this essential link and its empowering rewards; she stated, “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Teaching and telling only can take its learners a certain distance down an established path; the power of creative reflection asserts the basic insight that exploration, finding out for oneself, is essential to educating a powerfully innovative imagination.
Quotations to inspire deep reflection
Quotations distill and evocate further reflection. The slideshow, “Inspiring Deep Reflection,” that accompanies this article contains further quotations and images, integrated together, to inspire and educate toward deep reflection. Take time to ponder the insights behind the quotes from artists, writers, scientists, and innovative thinkers. Consider the ideas in relation to yourself and reflect on their universal meanings and applications.
Observation and reflection, essential skills of creativity, are not equal in all individuals, for as Ralph Waldo Emerson indicated, “Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” Artistic imagination can be built and strengthened. Taking time to focus and educate the imagination hones a fresh, sharp tool for intellectual, creative minds, for as Mary Oliver states, “Imagination is better than a sharp instrument. To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
Find the take in this article to be helpful? National and Local Education as well as National and International Travel materials come from a husband and wife creative team, who travel extensively as photonaturalists and writers. One is an experienced scientist with a doctorate in Material Sciences and background in pharmaceutical and optics research. The other is former Vice President of GKE (Global Knowledge Exchange), who served as a US Web-based Education Commissioner during the Clinton administration, and was a former US National Tech&Learning Teacher of the Year.
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