Creativity, Part 7 of 10: Feed your mind

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A note from the author:

In this chapter, we finally get to see how the prince applies the lessons he has learned to overcome the challenge of throwing a tree over the high palace dome! Also, we learn the best ways to prepare our minds to be creative. enjoy!

Feed your mind to prepare for creative thoughts

The return of the prince  for the second challenge

Flash forward six months, the prince has overcome the first challenge and is about the attempt the second challenge…

After completing the first challenge by walking on the frozen surface of the river, the young Prince bounded up to the high palace dome to complete the second challenge with the wisdom of E’mussa’s lesson echoing in his mind. The crowd following eagerly behind, noisily voicing their amazement at the ease with which this Prince had overcome the first challenge.

When the prince reached the top of the hill, he kneeled for a moment to pay his respects to the Prince of Lanti, still buried beneath the ancient cedar where he had been since losing the second challenge six months previously. 

The prince stood up and took one more look at the gleaming, polished palace dome high overhead, and then around at the forest of immense, ancient cedar trees surrounding the palace. Then he turned once again to address the crowd, and the beautiful daughter.

“To overcome the second challenge” shouted the prince, remembering all that E’mussa had taught him, “Know this well”:

“Our minds are the gardens where problems grow large”

So saying, he took out an infant cedar  tree from his tunic, no more than one arms-length long, and swung it once, twice, then over the dome of the palace, completing the challenge. The poor-but-wise man was very impressed with this feat but did not let on lest the crowd think him biased. He announced loudly to the crowd “Now young prince, you must complete the third challenge, to stop your own heart from beating…”

Feed your Mind By paying attention

The next evening, the group assembled with warm greetings and the usual easy laughter, in the now familiar clearing. At some unspoken signal, everyone took their seat around the roaring fire. 

Ras, who had been a delightful companion, had not said anything to the prince up to this point about his particular creative power, or his unusual name. The prince had tried saying it backwards, like Tony and E’mussa’s names, but S-A-R was just as much of a conundrum as R-A-S. His curiosity piqued, he awaited the unveiling of the mystery. He had his full attention on Ras, waiting to catch every word that came out of his mouth. And Ras, never one to disappoint, said the most unexpected thing imaginable…

My Left Foot

“Have you ever noticed that you don’t notice your left foot much until it is mentioned by someone?”

Immediately, the prince was conscious of his foot, the position of it and the way it was beginning to fall slightly asleep. He shifted his weight, and then nodded, with a puzzled expression.

Ras continued. “This is the essence of my lesson.  Let me tell you a story to get my lesson started.”

“Two men met and became friends during a war. One man was from a large city, while the other man was from an old, isolated civilization that still believed in the old ways. After the war they returned home.”

“The first man became a doctor, the other a medicine man, schooled in the old ways. After a number of years, they decided to hold a reunion, and the medicine man traveled to his old friend’s city. One day while visiting the sights, the doctor became aware that his friend was not at his side. He turned around to see him standing perfectly still on a street teeming with people going about their daily activities. The doctor walked back to his friend and asked what was wrong. The medicine man replied he was just listening to the crickets sing. The doctor looked at him in disbelief. There were no crickets on this busy city street! So the medicine man walked over to a tree planted in a pot, knelt, gently scratched the soil, and into his hand jumped a cricket.”

“The doctor was amazed and said that his friend must have extraordinary hearing. The medicine man said his hearing was no better than that of anyone else. To prove his point, he reached into his pocket, scooped up a handful of coins, and dropped them. Ten people stopped and looked for the money. They could not hear the cricket, but they did not miss the sound of coins.”

Feed your mind by clearly defining and focusing on your problem.

“So” the prince said, “What we focus on is what we allow into our brains? I have been focused on overcoming the four challenges—what you are saying is that everything with new experience, every new learning, my brain is checking against what I am focusing on, to see if it will help me overcoming the challenges?”

“That is correct!” said Ras. “That is why I go by the name Ras.  RAS stands for a very important part of your brain—the Reticular Activating System.  This is a structure in the brain the monitors information coming into our brain through all our senses, to see if the sensations are harmful to us, or helpful.  If we give our conscious brain something to focus on, the RAS will unceasingly check incoming information to see if it will help answer the question we have.  This is why goal setting works—whatever we focus on consistently, becomes our reality.

The prince pondered this for a moment.  The other magicians allowed him time to gather his thoughts. Then the prince spoke. “This seems extremely powerful, but what if no information, new or old, comes to me?”

Art smiled. “You must have read my mind prince—good trick! That is exactly the next part of the lesson!

Feed your mind with experiences and information 

“Prince, you are correct when you wonder what to do if no new ideas enter your mind. You must feed you mind! Give it a steady diet of new ideas and experiences to help your garden grow. Remember, the more branches a tree has, the more branches it can have!”

Ras continued. “If you continue to be interested in everything for your entire life, and constantly feed your mind a wide variety of experiences, you will never hunger for new ideas.”

“But,” The prince said, “If I’m experiencing the same things thousands before me have undertaken, what makes me special? How could I come up with something new just by venturing down that path?”

Tony spoke to the group for the first time that night. “Prince, you are the sum of all your experiences. No one in the history of the world has the same talents you were born with, and the all the same experiences that have shaped your life. Because of that, you do have something unique to offer the world.” 

Feed your mind with Time Travel

Ras continued, saying “My lesson is almost done. The last notion I want to bring to you does not concern your future so much as your past. Prince, what I want you to learn to do is a little time traveling.”

Even after all that the magicians had taught him, even after everything he had experienced with them, the prince was more than a little skeptical of Ras’ request, and he told Ras about his doubts.

Ras replied, “The kind of time travel I’m speaking of is not physical, but in your mind. I want to you go back in time to when you were a child, when everything was new. This is a great gift, to be able to look at the world through the eyes of a child. Having childlike wonder and curiosity is a marvelous creative habit to cultivate.”

“This is the essence of the lesson I want to teach you.  Remember this, and remember it well:

“Continuous learning and an open mind make the impossible, possible”

“Well Prince, that ends my lesson. Tomorrow evening, we will hear from Art on the fourth lesson. In the meanwhile, ponder ways to travel in time. Find ways you can begin to look at the world anew, with wonder and curiosity. When you have come up with some ways, try to put some 

to use before tomorrow evening, when our final teacher, Art, will share his wisdom.”

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Copyright © 2020 Gerard A. Evanski. All rights reserved.  Reproduction and distribution without written permission of the author is strictly prohibited.

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