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Imagine driving your car down a peaceful, quiet country road, passing farm after farm. You are totally in tune with the rhythm of the road as it radiates throughout your vehicle. Your body and mind are quiet and relaxed, yet at the same time you’re fully alert – almost like being at one with your car and the surrounding environment.

Then when you least expect it, something strikes you like a bolt of lightning. Looking over at the passenger seat, you see God. He has just appeared in physical form, and you are very happy to see Him. It seems God has dropped by to bring you a gift. It’s wrapped in a small box with brightly colored wrapping paper. But before you can open it, God tells you a little something about your present.

It’s a powerful tool that can solve almost any type of problem. It can be used anywhere in almost any situation. You need only turn it on and ask the appropriate questions. When the time is right, solutions appear almost automatically. This tool is connected directly to God’s vast storehouse of knowledge. It will help you advance year after year, while the competition stays in the same place.

It will help you invent new ways of getting better results for practically every application. It’s unbelievable, God says, because this tool is a million times more powerful and useful than Mr. Spock’s computer. In fact, this tool was used to create the entire Starship Enterprise.

By now you’re really excited and can hardly wait to open the box. But before you do, what are you going to use it on first? Are there any problems in your life that need solving? Is there something in your environment, workplace, job site, relationship or home life that could be improved on somehow? Do you think your relationship partner could benefit from this useful gift as well? Well, surprise! You open the box and God bestows on you the gift of creativity and imagination.

Both creativity and imagination stem from your Inner Self. The only difference between creativity and imagination is that creative power is limited to reality and imaginative power is unlimited. Because creativity is a function of your Inner Self and your Inner Self is connected to God, your ability to co-create comes from God as a gift. God gave us this gift a long time ago, which is why humanity keeps advancing year after year and the rest of life on this planet keeps acting according to its natural programming and conditioning.

If you or your relationship partner are missing out on this wonderful tool, the following items may be of assistance in using this powerful gift. It has been divided into two parts. The first part will help you get more in tune with the creative part of yourself, and the second part consists of various exercises that will help increase your creative capability.

Developing Your Creative Abilities

Recognize the Flow:
Our creative abilities are at their best during a state commonly known as “the flow.” The flow of creativity might be compared to water in a stream. It flows along until encountering a rock, and even then it simply continues to flow downstream around it. When we place water in a container it conforms to the container’s boundaries. In the same way, our creative ability works best when we are flowing effortlessly like water.

To find your own state of flow you will need to perfectly align your mind, body and talents with the current activities in which you are participating. During the state of flow everything seems effortless, unified and in harmony. Time seems to fly as you are completely absorbed in your environment and work. When the activities we participate in are below our talents, we usually become bored.

If the activities we participate in are above our talents, we usually become anxious. A good example of this is your average high school student who might experience anxiety taking a college-level exam and might get bored with a second-grade lesson. The student would probably find creative flow the easiest when working on a high school science project that is interesting and exciting. When we are in touch with our Inner Selves and in harmony with our current activities we can find the state of flow that produces those good ideas known as creativity.

Let Go:
To enhance the state of flow and creativity you will find it helpful to quiet the part of your mind that produces the chatter-type thinking. It’s necessary to release and let go of any predetermined thoughts, concerns and distractions which interfere with your state of flow.

Sometimes people experience their most creative insights while showering, driving, waking up, walking in nature, watching sand run through their fingers at the beach, playing an instrument, dancing, vacationing or engaging in contemplative prayer.

Convert Any Self-Criticism:
One of the biggest blocks to creativity is self-criticism. When we doubt ourselves, our creative ability or ideas, we usually fail to follow through on them. Our inner critic might say things like, “If it were a good idea, someone would already have thought of it.” Then six months later you see your idea come out in the market place.

Maybe your inner critic says things like, “You’re no good. What a stupid idea,” “They’ll think you’re crazy,” “You’ll mess it up and never get another chance,” “Nobody will care,” or “They’ll laugh at you.” By confronting your inner negative voice and discovering its true intentions you will be better prepared to use your creative ability.

Free Yourself from Predetermined Perceptions:
Another big block to creativity is predetermined ideas of how things should be, will be or must be. Any time we convince ourselves mentally to expect a certain predetermined outcome, we cut ourselves off from creative possibilities.

Anything that keeps you from recognizing and opening yourself up to new and improved ideas, challenges and ways of looking at or perceiving things will minimize your creative ability. Try to free yourself from pressures, competition, expectations, restricted choices, evaluation from others, supervision, repression, rigid thinking patterns and predetermined perceptions.

Exercises for Increasing Your Creative Capability

Inquiry Exercise:
A powerful way to increase your creative ideas is through the inquiry exercise of asking yourself one question each day. Focus your questions on important areas or issues in your life. Asking questions is an important part of the creative process.

Almost everything that is manmade today started out with a question: “How can I make this product better? Why can’t this be done differently? What would happen if…? What are my options to this problem? I wonder how my partner can accomplish this?” Ask yourself one powerful question a day and let your Inner Self work on the solution. Usually the answer will come to you when you least expect it.

Ritual Exercises:
Another powerful way to increase your creative ability is through the ritual exercise. It works by experiencing something different every day. Trying new, different and unusual things on a regular basis will strengthen your creative capability and soften rigid, controlling conforming patterns. By practicing the ritual exercise, you can hold on to the familiar without getting trapped in a stagnant daily routine.

You can begin by taking a different route to work, listening to a different radio station, taking a different lunch partner out, doing a different nightly activity, saying a different prayer, viewing the world differently, or trying a different way to treat others for the day. By becoming familiar with new and unknown experiences on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to create new and unknown realities for your life.

Observation Exercise:
This mental exercise will help you strengthen your memory and creative attentiveness. Begin by closing your eyes for 15 seconds. Then open and close your eyes as fast as you can, like the shutter on a camera. Take the brief picture of whatever you are looking at and recreate it in your mind. (This works best with things that you’re not very familiar with.)

Try to recreate the exact shapes, sizes, colors, brightness and details in the picture. Try to hold this picture in your mind for as long as you can. Use your creativity to fill in any unknown or forgotten areas. Use your creativity to paint any fading colors. By maintaining the image of the picture for as long as you can, you will be strengthening your creative ability.

Visions of Inspiration

And if people were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is the one who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. — The Wisdom of Solomon 13: 4-5

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself. — Alan Alda

Imagination is more important than knowledge. — Albert Einstein

© Robert Abel

Reprinted from The Relationship Toolbox by Robert Abel.

Robert Abel is director of Relationship Rebuilders, a marriage and family psychotherapy counseling practice in Colorado. He works with couples and families helping them heal the emotional wounds of the past and incorporate spirituality into their lives.

A member of the American Psychological Association with extensive studies in psychology and sociology, one of Abel’s highest goals is to dramatically reduce the current divorce rate by encouraging couples to develop the tools to rebuild, maintain and strengthen their relationships.