Those who are successful in their incubation stage become people magnets, bringing home heightened levels of self-awareness, self-management, self-mastery, and attuned relationships. They become guidance for friends and family in ways that give people a sense of clarity, enthusiasm, and direction that encourages flexibility, upbeat feelings, and leadership.
What is self-awareness? Self-awareness means being able to achieve a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, limitations, and values. Once you achieve self-awareness, you feel more realistic about your goals and what you could achieve in life; you become more honest with yourself.
What is self-management? Self-management means being able to manage our own emotions and not letting them control us. Those who also achieve heightened awareness are also aware of those who try to control and manipulate them: a manipulative partner, a controlling authority, an ambitious subordinate, a backstabbing competitive coworker, and an insecure person. If they were free from problems, pain, suffering, affliction, neurosis, psychosis, paranoia, fear, tension, anxiety, etc., they would not be manipulative. The practical approach toward them is to help them overcome their problems so you can live in peace and happiness.
In fact, if you can, you should fill their minds with loving friendliness and make all of them realize the true meaning of peace, so you can live in peace and happiness. The more they are neurotic, psychotic, afraid, tense, and anxious, the more trouble, pain, and suffering they bring to the world. If you could convert a vicious and wicked person into a holy and saintly individual, you would perform a miracle. Let us cultivate adequate wisdom and loving friendliness within ourselves to convert evil minds to saintly minds.
Here is one more Eastern technique to melt the left side. Joseph Goldstein, in his excellent book called The Experience of Insights, says:
Pain is a good object for meditation. When there’s a strong pain in the body, the concentration becomes stronger. The mind stays on it easily, without wandering very much. Whenever sensations in the body are predominant, make them objects of meditation. When they are no longer predominant, return to the breath. The awareness should be rhythmic, not jumping or clutching at objects, just watching “rising-falling,” “pain,” “itching,” “heat,” cold, and “rising-falling.” When you find yourself tensing because of pain, carefully examine the quality of unpleasantness and the quality of painfulness. Become mindful of that feeling, and the mind will naturally come to a state of balance.
Becoming creative is the ultimate goal of our incubation stage. Creativity needs imagination, curiosity, fantasies, and foresight. These would not be possible if the consciousness is not operating on the right side, where it’s free, fluent, flexible, original, and autonomous. According to Dr. Langer in her book called Mindfulness, those who can free themselves of old mindsets, open themselves to new information, play with perspective and context, and focus on process rather than outcome are likely to be creative, whether they are scientists, artists, or cooks.
The Zen master Shunryu Suzuki, in his excellent book called Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, expresses creativity and self-expression in Zen practice:
To cook or to fix some food is not preparation, according to Dogen; it is practice. To cook is not just to prepare food for someone or for yourself; it is to express your sincerity. So when you cook, you should express yourself in your activity in the kitchen. You should allow yourself plenty of time; you should work on it with nothing in mind and without expecting anything. You should just cook!
When your consciousness has completed its transfer from the left side of the illustration to the right side, you are now ready to tinker with your creative side.
A curious mind that is in such a heightened condition needs challenge, a good and virtuous challenge, tension, and perhaps a need to be satisfied. A perfect conditioned consciousness creates these purified challenges by small conflicts inside to perhaps make life better (inventions) or just to create for aesthetic pleasure (arts) or the love of the passion (dance, photography, woodcarving, rock climbing, etc.). Once these challenges are created, we attack them with no mercy to achieve unification. The output or results of these small conflicts are usually hard work, timelessness, and foresight. I like to emphasize again the power of unification and the feel of trans or flow, which is the ultimate goal.
Perhaps a good question is: how does one stimulate more of these conflicts inside the subconscious? A child-like observation and heightened attention may make a big difference. As the person gets himself or herself more and more absorbed in tasks, passions, and whatever jobs he or she chooses to enjoy that are just fun, the person becomes a USER of that passion, job, etc.Research has shown that USERS are the best innovators. Users develop skills, concentration, insights, purification, and bare attention that allow them to see familiar objects (the subject of passion) in unfamiliar ways. In the next sections, I explain the concept of user.
At least ten years of steady work at a discipline or craft seem required before that metier has been mastered. The capacity to take a creative turn requires just such mastery, and accordingly, significant breakthroughs can rarely be documented before a decade of sustained activity has been accomplished. Even Mozart, arguably the exception that proves the rule, had been composing for at least a decade before he could regularly produce works that are considered worthy of inclusion in the repertory. With the seven creators in question, at least a decade—and in some instances, more time—elapsed before innovative achievement had coalesced. And, as typical, another decade passed before a second major innovation was forged.
Yet it would be unwarranted to contend that one first follows the craft for ten years and only then strikes out on one’s own. My own analysis suggests the reverse pattern. Individuals who ultimately make creative breakthroughs tend, from their earliest days, to be explorers, innovators, and tinkerers. Never satisfied simply to follow the pack, they can usually be found experimenting in their chosen metier and elsewhere as well. (Source: Creating Minds; Howard Gardner)