The Yin Yang of Imagination

“Putting people in a positive mood roughly doubled their accuracy at [remote association problems]. All of a sudden, they were twice as good at identifying problems with possible solutions. This suggests that anything that makes us happier, reducing vigilance and anxiety, might also make us more creative. We can detect more remote associations, of course, but we also know which associations are worth pursuing, which is probably even more important. It doesn’t matter if it’s pot, chocolate or a stand-up comic — those substances or experiences that put a smile on our face can also increase the powers of the imagination, at least when solving particular creative problems.” From the article Does Marijuana Make You Stupid? by Johan Lehrer

In general, Wired has the best articles. And this article–well, it wasn’t a letdown. But what struck me was not the current research proving that marijuana isn’t as detrimental to the mind as once presupposed by those who opposed it. What struck me was the quote above. Positive thinking allays anxiety and supports creative problem solving.

And all this time, I thought I had the inability to access the creative section of my brain. All this time, I believed I was incapable of being clever enough to solve problems. Come to find out I’ve been subverting myself with my negative thought processes. This will come as a no-brainer to some of you out there. Not to me, though. I’ve suffered from excruciating anxiety my entire life. The other night, in fact, I kept myself awake worrying over my housekeeping skills, or my lack thereof. I realized I had to take charge of my household in order to alleviate my panic. After a few long days of organizing and cleaning and making business phone calls I’d previously avoided, I felt a lot less panic, and a lot more distress.

Taking charge, unfortunately, doesn’t force me into positive thinking patterns. I feel relieved, and that’s all. At the same time, I feel incapable of harnessing my creative thoughts and steering them toward imagination.When I fail to use my imagination, I’m clearly confronting the real world, and this never makes me happy. Yet, without positive thinking, I can’t use my imagination.

Hmm. Maybe there’s something in that. Imagination and positive thinking may be a yin yang balance. One may not operate without the other. The descending quality of positive thinking may release the centrifugal force of creativity. I’m imagining it (probably due to my lack of creativity) as a stone dropped in placid water. The stone of positive thought descends from the mind, where it’s processed, down into the heart. Meanwhile, creativity expands outwardly from the heart like the ripples on the water.

And I didn’t even need to smoke marijuana in order to figure that out!



  1. That's interesting.

    "All this time, I believed I was incapable of being clever enough to solve problems."

    (That's a laugh to me because most of the time, when I come to this blog, I feel intellectually outgunned. Not in a bad way, I just don't comment a lot of the time because the subject is over my head.)

    Steven King seems to have found a way to be creative while still being anxious, but nobody said he was of the norm.

  2. Texlahoma–it's definitely a put-on! Yeah, I need to turn myself into a Stephen King. That way I could become a bestseller.

  3. I wasn't expecting to be back here so soon but I ran across this and thought of you, just for what it's worth.

    "Hypnosis is merely a change in mental state, induced by suggestion, a relaxed state of focused attention. Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes."

    None of my business or anything but I though maybe…

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