Monday, April 14, 2014

ZENventures: Unwind Your Imagination

By Darlene Kent
Graduate Student
International Center for Studies in Creativity

Want to go on a Zenventure? Have I captured your attention?  Are you curious? Join me as I share my Master’s project with you.

What are Zenventures?

Zenventures are guided imageries, meditations that are designed to be mini adventures.

Adventures of peace, adventures of the heart, and adventures of the mind.  Zenventures are about taking a journey, about taking a moment to pause, to unplug and just be.  Be you, be relaxed, and be in the now.  Everybody needs a coffee break, even your brain.  Zenventures is all about the art of the pause.

Zenventures take you to a place you may never have been before, it allows you to try out new options.  They help you get comfortable with new skills and new ideas.  Zenventures are about opening your creativity and your mind to possibilities.  Zenventures give you a way to release and connect to your imagination, and to experience some peace.

Relax and discover your creative potential to embrace imagination, insight and your artistic self - whatever your art may be.

Discover SIM:  Story, Incubation, Music

We live in a busy world, a world that seems to have forgotten how to breathe, how to pause, and how to unplug from an everyday, all day, internet access.  Discover SIM:  unplug by plugging in. You may be wondering what is SIM?  And why should I care?  SIM is an acronym that taps into three powers to help you discover imagination, creativity and insight:
    Power of Story
    Power of Incubation
    Power of Music

Humans have an affinity for story, we respond to them, remember them, and share them.  Zenventures tap into your desire for stories and uses it as a vehicle to help you connect to your inner potential.

I believe in our busy and increasingly interconnected world we are forgetting how to incubate. Guided meditations help people find time to pause, and give ourselves permission and time to let the answer find us. Zenventures help you tap into this deep well of potential, one that is often overlooked.

Humans experience music on a different level, beyond words, beyond logic, beyond the everyday.  Hear some music and some part of your body wants to move with it.  In Zenventures we use music to move the mind, the heart and the soul.

The book, Wired for Story, discussed how story can help rewire a person’s brain, to help us to see the possibilities of the future, and to teach us the way of the world (Cron, 2012).  Human beings connect to story in a strong way, and I used the power of story to take the person on a journey.  One very clear way I did that was by using a theme in the meditations, and I connected that to something that happens in music lyrics - a chorus.  Theme is the universal message that you want to share, it tells people the point of the story, and conveys information about the human experience (Cron, 2012), in this case the creative aspect of being human.

The best way to make people believe in something is with repetition, and another way is to use simple language (Kahneman, 2011).  I employed both of these strategies while writing and creating the guided meditations.  So the chorus, repeated a few times during the meditation; is the key attitude, skill or trait about creativity I want the person to take on.  The power of SIM (Story, Incubation, Music) lies with the repeated chorus, and the breeding of familiarity that comes with listening to it, especially with doing the same meditation over and over again.  The chorus is my secret weapon, it is how I plant the seeds of creativity that will hopefully blossom into helping a person become more creative.


Research has clearly proven that there is a mind body connection and that mediation has several benefits:  quicker recovery from stress, increased alpha rhythms, enhanced synchronization, muscle relaxation, less emotional reactivity, increased empathy, more happiness,  increased creativity, and heightened perceptual clarity and sensitivity (Bodian, 2006). 

When I was doing the initial research for the project, I checked and, and I found that most guided meditations refer to creativity in general.  Current guided meditation do not focus on the skills, attitudes and traits associated with creativity. 

A journal article written by Sawyer (2011) on the neuroscience of creativity suggested that creative people experience higher levels of alpha wave activity, and that creative people use both hemispheres of the brain.  You can connect that information to the benefits of meditation [increased alpha rhythms and increased brain synchronization, (Bodian, 2006)] to see how meditating increases creativity in general.

What appears to be lacking in the current guided meditation landscape are the skills, traits and attitudes that support creativity.  I decided to use meditation, guided imagery and visualization as a way to help people practice and master the skills, traits and attitudes associated with creativity. 

The best journal article I read on creativity and meditation was called, The Neuropsychological Connection Between Creativity and Meditation (Horan, 2009). The section labeled, Insight, provided a good overview on creativity and meditation.  What research indicated is that meditation helps with incubation and insight through the processes of transcendence and integration. 

Transcendence bypasses limits in information, in essence you could say it creates a whole that is greater than the sum of the knowledge.  And integration is about transforming information, you can think of it as an enlightened state.  Transcendence is about diverging, and integration is about converging.  After reading this article I came to the conclusion that transcendence and integration are part of the yin/yang of creativity.

Be Rock Star Zen

It is too early to tell if the guided meditations can increase the prevalence of the specific traits, skills and attitudes associated with creativity.  Even if they do not, meditation will still help enhance creativity in general. 

So, let’s jump in and go on a Zenventure.  Enjoy the streaming audio below and discover a peace and creativity adventure today!

For more Zenventures please visit  or

To read the entire Master’s Project paper go to Digital Commons at

For more about me, Darlene Kent, reach out and connect at


Bodian, S. (2006). Meditation for dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Cron, L. (2012). Wired for story:  The writer’s guide to using brain science to hook readers from the very first sentence. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Horan, R. (2009). The neuropsychological connection between creativity and meditation. Creativity Research Journal, 21(2-3), 199–222. doi:10.1080/10400410902858691

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking fast and slow. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Sawyer, K. (2011). The Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity: A Critical Review. Creativity Research Journal, 23(2), 137–154. doi:10.1080/10400419.2011.571191

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