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"Memory is the cabinet of imagination,
the treasury of reason,
the registry of conscience,
and the council chamber of thought."

St. Basil

One valuable way to access creative mind is to utilize state-dependent memory. This form of memory is the recall of a vivid past event where you had a great insight or intuition.


In the recall you revisit the same feelings and mood that were present in the original event. The creative muse is readily summoned by this simple technique. The easiest way to summon a particular event is to devise a personal trigger that when pushed will immediately evoke identical feelings. Though it will take a little practice, once you have a trigger selected you can use it wherever and whenever you want.

This technique is a combination of biofeedback and memory of the aha experience. This is how simple the initial procedure is:

  • First decide what personal trigger you chose to use. Putting your index finger and thumb together, or touching your forehead, or placing your hand over your heart, etc. are each physical ways of initializing the memory recall. The trigger is associated solely with this specific memory. The particular signal isn't important, but the signal needs to be something you will remember and you can do even in a public place.

  • Sit back, close your eyes, relax and vividly remember a time when you had a difficult problem to solve.

  • Remember the room you were in, the time of day, the exact surroundings and what the problem was that you needed to resolve.

  • Then remember the moment the solution came to you. As you remember this exact moment of revelation concentrate on the feeling. Be very clear that you are immersed in the feeling of elation and relief you felt when the insight appeared and the problem was solved.

  • Now use the personal trigger. For example, as soon as you vividly remember the moment of resolve, touch your forehead and hold that feeling. As you repeat this exercise a few times each day, the act of touching your forehead should elicit an exact feeling of resolved insight.

The concept here is simple. When you use the trigger the aha experience will be immediately recalled. When this experience is evoked you have set the stage for a repeat performance from your subconscious mind. You have also placed yourself in the present moment. Most of our thought patterns are very conditioned and redundant. If we try to solve a problem or get a creative solution in the midst of conditioned thinking we come up against a blank wall.


One of the important elements of the trigger is that you are immediately placed in the Now moment and conditioned thought it temporarily halted. In this clear and present moment the trigger will transport you to a feeling of intuition and insight. It will take you out of associated memory and circular thought patterns. This is the ideal mental state for creativity.

If this sounds too simple, don't worry. It works. Biofeedback is a proven technique in solving many problems. Medical science has been using it for over a decade to help relieve pain, lower blood pressure, alter brain waves, etc. Biofeedback is the complete awareness of a bodily function and the conscious regulation of that function. This technique is similar in that you become completely familiar with the state of mind you associate with creative insight.

Psychologists are familiar with the term state-dependent memory. This is the occurrence of physical or emotional symptoms associated with a strong memory. This can occur on the subconscious level as well as in conscious awareness. These memories are used to overcome phobias and addictions. Memory of a meaningful and powerful event can reintroduce the same physical, emotional and mental conditions that were present during the initial event. By recalling this exact event and the feelings present, you can change your current relationship to those feelings.

Combining these two techniques of biofeedback, via a trigger, with a potent state-dependent memory of the aha experience, can place you in the perfect state of mind for creative thought. This works particularly well in the workplace were creative solutions are needed immediately.

The amount of time for each person to solidify his own personal trigger will vary, and intent is the greatest ingredient for success. Doing this exercise daily for a couple of weeks will bring definite results.

Learning to push your own creative triggers is easy and always available. No matter where you are or what your problem is you can evoke your own personal genius. Creative solutions to problems are plucked from the unknown. Insight can become a personal daily tool you have literally at your fingertips.

© J.L. Read, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
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This site is dedicated in loving memory
to its creator, Janet L. Read
1949 — 2000


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