By: Julie Tallard Johnson
Adapted from Spiritual Journaling, by Julie Tallard Johnson (Inner Traditions, 2006).
Mind mapping is a technique used by many writers to help them draw from the creative side of the brain to generate new ideas. It is also used by people in all walks of life to tap into a wider range of options for problem solving. Whenever you’re stuck, or just want to stretch your mind further than it will reach at the moment, try this approach. Have you noticed that when you are frustrated or angry it is sometimes difficult to see anything but the bad? Mind mapping opens your mind and lets gets you out of being stuck and obsessed about what is going wrong so that you can see what you might do to help things go right.
Begin by choosing a word. Put the word or idea in the center of the page and draw a circle around it. Then draw a line out from the circle and write the first word that comes to your mind when you think about your central word. Circle this word. Then allow another thought or word to arise from that word, draw a line from the last word to the new one and circle it. Continue doing this until you feel you’ve come to the end of that particular stream of words. Now return to the original word you began your mind map with and begin another series of associations. Breathe throughout this exercise. Don’t stop to think; write as quickly as possible. Don’t stop moving your writing hand. Always write the first word that comes to your head.
Remember to let the words just stream out of you, not stopping to filter your thoughts or judge them. This activates the creative part of your brain and awakens your intuitive nature. A lot of what you know sits just below your conscious mind, and clustering allows you to get to it. After mind mapping for awhile, you will experience an intuitive shift, and possibly a desire to write about what your map displays.
Copyright (c) 2006 by Julie Tallard Johnson. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.