What style of meditation is best for stimulating creativity? One of the most definitive studies on this subject was conducted in 2012 by Lorenza Colzato, a Dutch cognitive psychologist. Her research team had a small group of novices practice two forms of mindfulness meditation: 1) open-monitoring, which involves observing and noting phenomena in the present moment and keeping attention flexible and unrestricted, and 2) focused attention, which stresses concentrating on a single object, such as breathing, and ignoring other stimuli. Then, after each meditation session, the subjects underwent tests to determine their ability to perform a range of cognitive skills.
What Colzato and her team discovered was that open-monitoring meditation was far more effective in stimulating divergent thinking, a key driver of creativity. Not surprisingly, the study also showed that focused-attention meditation was more strongly related to convergent thinking, which is important for narrowing options and formulating a workable solution. (Note: Most common forms of mindfulness meditation use a blend of both approaches.)
Open-monitoring meditation (observing and noting phenomena in the present moment and keeping attention flexible and unrestricted) was far more effective in stimulating divergent thinking, a key driver of creativity.