When we attempt to understand the nature of creativity we inevitably come face to face with some pretty nebulous states, it’s a bit like entering a mass of different kinds of cloud with different hues and shapes. Jumping straight into the cloud we come across one of the most mysterious aspects of creativity and the most impervious to rational analysis. Intuition is a central and vital part of being in a creative frame of mind and a good example of nebulous and hard to define. Even when you are in an intuitive state of mind it is hard know it as such at the time.
How are you intuitive?
One way of relating to intuition is that it is the times when you just know something in it’s wholeness without having worked it all out in your head. You just know what the situation is or what someone is going through or what is needed right now. Every aspect of the topic or situation is appreciated as a whole in a tangible and direct way. When intuition is functioning well there are no interpretations or abstract commentary that tells you what is going on in a roundabout way.
Intuition is a kind of wisdom that brings all your faculties together
Intuition is not only about the mind but the body too. It is a great combiner and integrator which brings the bodies memories and sensory understanding together with the mind as an integrated whole. When this happens you can have an intuitive knowing, your body is part of the input which gives you clear indications as to whether something is true or untrue or how things are. The intuition can give you a direct and immediate sense of whether a particular situation will inevitably lead to tragedy or good fortune. From this point of view intuition is a kind of wisdom state which directly reads situations and knows likelihoods and possible outcomes.
Body mind integration
This is a state of mind/body awareness in which everything you know or have experienced about a topic comes together into a fresh and direct knowing, it is alive to the situation and it’s implications. This aspect of intuition being fresh, alive and connected is very important in the creative process. Intuitive perception is not merely a mental computation which happens very quickly but something quite different, it is a more all inclusive and subtle knowing or taking something in. One of the extraordinary things about the intuition is that it draws on many faculties and senses and emerges as something completely different and new.
Exploring the clouds
It is sometimes hard to know how you came into an intuitive knowing, but certain conditions are needed for it all to come together. To be in an intuitive state of mind five particular qualities or frames of mind all need to be present simultaneously. Each of these is also as amorphous as clouds. They are a sense of openness, poised relaxation, a sense of integral expansiveness, pliancy or flexibility of mind and a sense of nuance or subtlety. Each of these qualities can be exercised and developed in their own right. When they are all there together being in an intuitive state is more likely to arise.
Although each of these five qualities are essential, the mysterious nature of an expansive frame of mind is perhaps the most important. A sense of expansiveness allows for a sense of wholeness or gestalt where different aspects of the mind can spark off each other and augment each other without being at odds. This synthesis and mutual relationship between such varied functions as conceptual thought, imagination and practical experience are only possible in a state of general expansiveness. When you are closed down or narrow in your perception it feels just like that. Being able to recognise and tell the difference between a sense of expansiveness and being contracted and being able to make a shift to expansiveness is essential to both intuition and creativity.