edu180atl: jeff small 3.16.12
What do creativity, quantum mechanics, and meditation have in common?
I try to meditate every day, nothing exotic – just simply sitting or lying while watching my breath for ten or twenty minutes. By focusing on my breath, I am able to clear my mind of the constant thinking and analysis that goes on inside my head. Over the years, I have noticed that many of my most creative ideas come to me during or shortly after these sessions of mental quietude. It is as if these creative insights burst into existence out of nothing: a solution to a problem I’m struggling with at work, an idea for a blog post, a twist in my fiction writing. My best ideas come to me not when I’m thinking deductively about the issue, but when I empty my mind, giving it the space to relax and make connections that might be counterintuitive to my rational thought process.
During my meditation this morning, the idea of virtual particles, a concept from quantum mechanics, popped into my head. A vacuum is not what we may intuitively think – it isn’t purely empty space. Because of the probabilistic nature of subatomic particles, these particles may pop into and then out of existence (usually as a pair of matter and antimatter, which annihilate each other). In other words, the universe is inherently creative. Matter and energy appear out of emptiness, just like my creative thoughts if I can quiet my mind long enough to hear them.