It happens at the most inopportune times.
It happens when you’re driving,
when you’re in the shower,
when you’re running.
When your mind finally quiets down, inspiration hits!
That’s a great thing unless you’re in motion and can’t jot it down. What do you do in those situations?
Do you pull over on the side of the road (hopefully you don’t try to text while driving)?
Do you shorten your shower?
Do you stop running mid-way?
Or do you just let the idea slip right out of your hands?
If you’re like me, you’re desperate to save inspired thoughts and would do anything to keep from losing them. I’ve tried different note taking apps and audio recorders. But this is the one thing I didn’t think of. Letting them go.
I just listened to a Sounds True podcast with mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn. Here’s what he said about ideas during meditation:
“I think that if a thought is really, truly innovative and creative, you won’t have it once and never remember it. So a lot of people might think, ‘Well, if I’m meditating, I better sit with a pen and a pad of paper to capture any of these fantastic, great, wonderful, Nobel Prize-winning, breakthrough thoughts that I might have.’ But I don’t do that. In fact, I don’t recommend that anybody do that, because then you’re just busy writing down your discursive thoughts in the hope that you’ll put them to work at some later time.”
Most interesting is what he says about how our thoughts, the really good ones, don’t go away. In fact, if we’re mindful, he says they come in waves, ready to greet you once again.
“We’re all geniuses of one kind or another, and I think part of it is that we don’t recognize it, and other people never recognize it, and we often don’t get a chance to put it into any kind of play—our own unique aspect of genius. But when you’re watching your mind in this kind of way, it rapidly becomes apparent because things recur. So interesting thoughts come back over and over and over again, which is one reason you don’t need to write them down or remember them because they have a way of nurturing you in a certain way.”
I once worried while practicing yoga, meditating, biking or showering that I would lose my ideas forever. This puts me at ease. Looks like it’s one less thing we writers need to worry about.