Unlocking Stuck Thoughts by Engaging with Your Senses
It's not uncommon that one has a creative thought / idea / solution to a problem that flickers like a candle in the dark. You can feel the light, the warmth, the resolution of the thought, but try as you might, it still remains dim and distant. Many of us have strategies to release these stuck thoughts. These strategies may vary: from distancing oneself from the vision flicker, to – quite the opposite – engaging it head first and bombarding the mind with thoughts about what the flicker could represent. If these methods work for you – that's great! But, I would like to present an alternative a model in which you engage with your senses in order to turn the flicker into a fully-fledged light. In order to unlock your creative, yet elusive thoughts, you can use all of these tips, or you can focus on the tips that correlate with your dominant sense(s). Let's break it down:
Sight – visualize the idea, imagine that you have to describe what it looks like to others. Describe it to yourself in detail. Draw it, doodle it, map it out. Draw it on a large, spacious surface, and then draw it on the corner of a napkin. Imagine it in words or in images. Visualize it with your eyes closed, then visualize it with your eyes open. Do it in the quiet of your work space, or in the hustle and bustle of people all around.
Hearing – talk the idea through. Record yourself and play it back. If you can, speak about it to someone else. Talk about it in the form of a story. Ask the person(s) listening to you to ask you as many questions as they can related to what you have been sharing. If you are doing the process by yourself, formulate and ask questions out loud about your vision. Listen to any audio-related clips on the vision. These can be specific to the idea: for instance, if you think you have solved the issue of time travel, then listen to podcasts, broadcasts and audiobooks, etc., directly related to the subject matter. Or else, listen to non-specific audial materials like songs with relevant key words about 'time' or 'travel'.
Taste – my interpretation of taste can be both literal or figurative. From a literal perspective, prepare your favorite meal or go to your favorite eating spot. As you are eating, imagine that you are ingesting the vision, and allow it to disperse and enter your system. Ask yourself what does the vision look like now? Where is it headed? What is its purpose? What does it taste like and why? Try to liken your vision to your meal of choice. How is it similar? How is it different? Why do you like it? From a figurative perspective, I interpret 'taste' to mean personal bias. Find at least two people to talk with. One should be a similar thinker – an advocate of your vision. The other should be a different thinker – someone who will not easily validate your thoughts. Explain the vision in your mind, and let both validation and contradiction flow as much as possible. Both sides are crucial to the evolution of your vision. This exercise can be done by yourself if necessary.
Smell – my interpretation of taste can be both literal or figurative. From a literal perspective, if you are greatly influenced by the olfactory sense, embrace both your favorite scents and scents that you do not like. Find a scent that makes you nostalgic and a smell that makes you nervous, and ask yourself how does your vision transform with each smell? Does your vision heighten with positive olfactory triggers, or with negative ones? In what ways? How has the vision evolved and transformed, with each respective scent? From a figurative perspective, I interpret 'smell' to mean intuition – almost like the sixth sense. What do your instincts tell you about your vision? Are you close to a complete vision, or far off? What will the key to your vision unlock? In this exercise, you distance yourself from the vision itself, and ask yourself why your thought came to you in the first place. What were you thinking about before it flitted in and began to flicker dimly? What were the stimulants and triggers that enabled the vision to enter your mind?
Touch – build a model of your vision with whatever moves your tactile senses: lego, clay, found objects, play dough, etc.. Play around with the pieces. Add additional parts that are not parts of the vision, and assess the results. Take them away and reassess your vision. Look at your model from many different angles. Try and compare your model to other physical renditions of similar visions. How is it the same? How is it different?