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Dr Danny Penman – Mindfulness For Creativity

Mindfulness For Creativity – Dr Danny Penman

Dr Danny Penman is a qualified meditation teacher and an award-winning writer and journalist. He currently writes features for the UK Daily Mail, having previously worked for the BBC, New Scientist and the Independent newspaper. He is co-author of the bestselling Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World. He has received journalism awards from the RSPCA and the Humane Society of the United States. In 2014, he won the British Medical Association’s Best Book (Popular Medicine) Award for Mindfulness for Health: A Practical Guide to Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress and Restoring Wellbeing (co- written with Vidyamala Burch). His books have been translated into more than 25 languages.

In today’s interview with Danny you’ll discover…

  • How mindfulness helps us cultivate the three skills that are vital to creativity.
  • Why stress kills creativity and what you can do to become more relaxed, open and creative.
  • Practical tips of what to do in a moment of creative block.
  • How mindfulness massively accelerated Danny’s healing after a serious injury and reduced his pain.

Plus Danny shares his daily meditation practice for cultivating creativity.

In the second video, be led in mindfulness meditation on ‘our inherent naturalness’  by Gustavo Ce Cestari

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Show Notes

Join The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

You can check out Danny’s website here

Read the first chapter of ‘Mindfulness for Creativity: Adapt, Create and Thrive in a Frantic World’ for free here

To learn more about Gustavo go to amarcentre.com.au

Check out Melli’s blog, events and retreats at MrsMindfulness.com




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Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass

Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

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59 Responses

  1. Beth Gahbler

    I loved this talk! Early in the Mindfulness Summit, I responded to one presentation by saying something like it was the best one for me. I’ve completely stopped saying that because each day, the next speaker has something to say that’s just as important.

    But I did learn so much from this particular talk and am very grateful for it! I’m a musician, among other things, and I know all about self-defeating thinking. This really gives me the impetus to start dealing with my negative thoughts and let them go.

    Another thing the whole Mindfulness Summit is giving me the courage to do is to stop taking antidepressants. It’s clear to me that I have to do this in consultation and work with my doctor, but I am finally convinced that I can accomplish this, aided by meditation. I have meditated quite a bit over stretches of my life, but this Summit is showing me just how much more there is to the practice.

    Thanks, Melli, for organizing this whole thing!

    1. patty

      All of the presentations have touched me in some fashion. But something about this one has left me with so much emotion. I don’t know what that means. Perhaps there’s some creative process lurking about just beneath the surface. And there’s a sense of excitement as well, as I ponder what this Summit and continued training I am pursuing will do in my life. I can’t say thank you enough to Melli, Danny, and everyone involved.

    2. Jacqueline

      I just want to say thank you as this Mindfulness Summit draws to its close.
      Bringing this about is an immense achievement. I just want to express my admiration and gratitude.

    3. Beth

      Ditto – I could have written this same PRAISE paragraph myself…- my sentiments exactly Well said Beth. 🙂 And especially Thanks Meli for this amazing project – I will miss the summit and all the awesome guests and information that everyone has so generously shared with us….

  2. Shantelle Bates

    Thank you so much for today’s session. I have multiple injuries along with the pain associated with them, and as I am unable to work I have had the fortune to have my art and crafts to help occupy my time. But there are times when I find it difficult to get started on some days, if not cease doing it for a while. I have found with this session, a much greater appreciation and new perspective on how to look at it and move forward, and the information was of great benefit with not only going easier on myself, but finding different ways to not only be able to do it but appreciate it all the more.
    The meditations were inspiring and a great way to close my day. Thanks so much to you all

  3. Hana Tichá

    A great session, Melli. I really enjoyed Danny’s meditation practice; it was so gentle and refreshing. I think this is something everybody can do at least once a day – paying attention to sounds around us is so simple, yet so powerful. And I love the analogy between sounds and thoughts. Anyway, I can’t wait to do the other practice later today. 🙂 Thanks.

  4. Noirin Campion

    Thank you Melli for the opportunity to listen to the wisdom of so many wonderful people.
    My question is a very pracItcal one. When the summit ends on 31st will we still be able to access it all?
    There is so much wisdom and knowledge to absorb, I need more time to listen again to the speakers and to sit and meditate. ( I have an access pass).
    Thank you, Noirin

    1. Jane

      My understanding is that you will have lifetime access to all the talks if you purchased the access pass. I got the access pass as I intend to start the whole series all over again on November 1st! So much to take in and I believe watching each presentation again will further enhance the benefits of mindfulness.

    2. Hi Noirin, Thanks so much for your kind words. Yes Jane, below is correct. After this free period is over you can purchase the entire summit which means you get all the videos, audios, transcripts and also a meditation album created out of all the meditations given in the summit. There is also a pretty amazing gift pack from our speakers too.

      Warmest wishes – Melli

  5. RoseMary

    Thank you Melli and Danny for another wonderful lesson in mindfulness. I feel as though I have been on a month long retreat with your daily sessions – what a blessing!

  6. Martine Large

    As the other comments have said, another inspiring session. Thank you. I am new to mindfulness, and also trying to reawaken long-dormant creativity, so this was particularly interesting to me. I have a question that perhaps somebody more experienced can throw light on. Sometimes when I’m meditating – it happened during Gustavo’s session – when focussed on my body, I get contractions in my abdomen. I’ve had them during acupuncture. Does anybody else have this experience, or know where it comes from. I recently (two months ago) had an operation that went wrong and the entry point was in that area, so I wondered whether it is a release of tension/trauma, although I had them with the acupuncture before the operation. I’m not worried, just curious about them, but would be interested if anybody has any ideas about what causes them. Thank you.

  7. I agree with Beth that each day has been my favorite, but today’s interview was a little different. I felt myself nodding my head and agreeing and actually talking to Danny and Melli. –I’m glad I was alone or I might have been carted off. 🙂 I have Danny’s 8-week mindfulness book and have found it very helpful. I’m looking forward to reading the Mindfulness in Creativity book. Melli and Danny, thanks so much for another GREAT interview!

  8. Tobias Schreiber

    Melli, these past 28 days have been really expansive and grounding. Thank you for sharing your vision. The talk and practice with Danny was very nice.
    The practice session with Gustavo was so nice.
    Keep remembering the focus of compassion that goes inward and outward like the breath.

  9. Sharon Stibbard

    Melli and team…what an accomplishment to pull together a month of speakers with so much experience and so many different applications of mindfulness. Never boring and never repetitive. There would have been so many reasons that this wouldn’t have worked, but you had an idea and you brought it to fruition. This summit Is an example of what mindfulness can do! Thank you to the guests who lent their time to this endeavour. I have committed myself to listening in every morning when I get up (the time when I do my meditation). I’m going to do through withdrawal when the summit is over! I feel like I have been on a retreat.

  10. Naphtali Zimmerman

    Today was of interest to me as in my spare time I writing a novel (my day job is being a chemist) and it is going slow. By coincidence, ahem, the book begins around the timeframe the main character at the age of 14 in an unusual situation decides that his spiritual path is Buddhism.

    I am probably going to buy his book to help me gin up my creative juices.

  11. Debra Burrington

    How lovely it was today to be sitting here in Columbus, Ohio hearing the sounds of nature in Australia as part of my meditation experience. This virtual connection created by the summit adds for me an additional measure of joy in listening to the presentations. Perhaps a more mindful world is not generations away after all. Thanks, Melli for creating this summit.

  12. Anthony Thomas

    I started my own mindfullness path by reading anything I can get my hands on and writing in a journal. I’ve tried to avoid the cultural stigma and I have noticed those around me changing. I think this statement kind of sums up practice… ‘how do angels fly…take themselves lightly.’ I started practicing a couple of years ago with some basic exercises I got from my chiropractor. Thanks…perfect. The summitt will have impact on others. Thanks.

  13. Gregory Peters

    Good to hear Danny’s thoughts on the idea of “critical mass”. Well grounded and objective. There is so much chaos in many countries, including those with Buddhist culture that it is almost a dream. We lived through “The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius” and are still working on the idea. What is most important is to be honest and true to ourselves and others.

  14. Christine Evans

    Danny has such an amazingly gentle meditation voice. I didn’t want to come out of that one! I look forward to reading his books especially the one on creativity. Sometimes I feel like I need to shift and sharpen my creativity in my photographs and I just don’t know where to turn. Now I realize the answers are really inside and have been all along 🙂

  15. Diana Jackon

    Beth – I’m thinking the same. Have been on antidepressants for some years. This Summit has been inspirational & has given me the courage, with mindfulness & the wonderful meditations we have been shown, to reduce medications. Wth Doctors help of course.

    Thank you to Melli & to everyone involved in this amazing Summit

  16. Kathleen Rutkowski

    What a wonderful shared moments with Melli, Danny, and Gus. Something struck me in what Danny said in response to Melli’s question about Mindfulness reaching a critical mass. “We wouldn’t notice anything but the world would be a better place and perhaps we would notice those who were note practicing mindfulness.” That is a lovely thought that we would stand besides other people and feel quiet and calm, One and AWE, like standing on the summit of a mountain, like sitting by a brook listening to the sound of water moving over sand and stone, and walking on a beach and hearing the rhythm of the waves, Thank you Melli for putting together an incredible experience and building a community of mindful.

  17. Darren

    “The profound stillness (achieved in meditation) does not arise because the world is stopped or because the mind is serene. The stillness is fed when we allow things to be as they are, at the moment we’re in. Moment to moment, breath by breath .”

    ~ Danny Penman

    Creative life-building is the take-away of possibility I feel as a reminder today. I’ve experienced mindful creativity in writing and other art projects. Woodcarving song-birds is a wonderfully mindful experience I’ve been blessed to take-up. I’ve a project planned for the winter.

    We’ve critical voices that can haunt us when we try to move away from dysfunction to clearing the mind through mindful creative practices. Voices of: Judgement, Cynicism, and Fear.

    This teaching (naming these voices) put the inner-sabotage I can live inside into clearer perspective. This teaching came along with the mindfulness summit through another course taught through EdX. The two experiences together have proved a perfect training match-up this month to help groove new habits towards rebuilding a personal discipline.

    There is a story of Edison needing to stop working regularly to clear his mind for creativity. He would take a break and hold a ball-bearing in his hand, allowing himself to just be, to sit, and in doing so he would invariably drift slightly off-to that point where we aren’t quite asleep, but not fully awake either: this is a meditative state I think we’ve all likely experienced.

    He’d do this when he felt stuck. As he drifted off, the ball-bearing he was rolling in his hand would fall to the ground, startling him a bit, and this startle would bring him back to the world. He did this often to get ‘unstuck’ and it worked to spark new creative thoughts, getting him past his own sticking points. (Learning How To Learn: Coursera).

    Self-Compassion: This is work in progress. The practices shared today were wonderful and grew to loving-kindness. I needed this today, having hit the floor running (mentally) this morning.

    Life, takes many such sparks of creativity, as discussed today. Thank you all for today. Be Well.

  18. Kay

    This entire Summit has been amazing. Like others, I will miss my daily check-in but am thankful for the place within which has been created so that o may continue my mindfulness practice. Each speaker has brought something special to our understanding. I found a particular synergy and flow between the work of Michael Chaskalson and Danny Penman’s session on creativity. Loved all the practices – Kaira and Danny’s practices are really helping to propel me forward. Thank you everyone! I will miss the coming together but will continue to feel connected. Sending metta, Kay

  19. Vanna Harvey

    I have received so much wonderful information and insights from all the amazing speakers I am very grateful for being able to join so many in this incredible journey, so many resources have been presented along the way and I’m just wondering what book would you recommend for some who would really like a captivating read as I really don’t know which one to purchase for the start of my mindfulness collection I plan to work on. Again thank you so much Mellie for putting together such a great summit!

    1. Janet Rampley

      I would buy Danny Penman and Mark Williams book, Mindfulness: a guide to finding peace in a frantic world. It was my first Mindfulness book and has been a lifesaver.

  20. Rutty Bessoudo

    Technical questions, please. Since Oct 26 the links you are providing with the talks aren’t working 🙁
    The 26th I got a message that there was some work going on with your server, but it still doesn’t work. What is strange is that the videos are ok, but none of the links are working. Any suggestions how to fix this?
    Thanks for your help.

  21. Jo-Anne

    Thank you for this! I appreciate the creative date and intend to put it into practice. It was nice to be conscious of sounds and thoughts and letting them be…living in harmony with my entourage. Great!

  22. Marti Ledyard

    To Matt @Mindfulness Summit Team: I have and am really learning a lot in this Summit. Do you have an order form for the Summit package, including the album with the meditations? I am interested in ordering it. Thank you so much. Marti Ledyard, St. Louis, MO

  23. Jo-Anna Roberts

    Thanks for today’s talk and practices. With a friend I am currently working through a book by Julia Cameron called ‘The Sound of Paper’ and it includes many of these ideas on creativity. Worth looking up for anyone interested in the creative process.

  24. Steven Dietrich

    Thank you for today’s discussion. Metta – Meditations is the basis of a new practice that I discovered and developed called Mettatations. It combines the findings from Positive Psychology and Meditation, with the power of Touch, Movement, Yoga, and Breath work. It’s similar to but different than typical meditations. It’s an easier way to meditate, and you get more benefits. Please check them out at http://www.Mettatations.com I just launched the website yesterday. They are specifically designed to help you generate more Peace, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Wisdom and Gratitude in your Mind, Body, and Heart. All of the things that Positive Psychology has shown to help people lead happier, healthier lives so that people can flourish. Thanks Melli, and Dr. Penman

  25. Anne

    What a lovely session today with Danny Penman, I have both the books co-written by Danny with Mark Williams and Vidyamala Birch and love them both, it was so nice to hear Danny lead a meditation today as in both the books the CD of meditations are with Mark and Vidyamala and I actually love Danny’s gentle style too. The sounds and thoughts meditation is my favourite too from the first book and I sometimes want to do that rather than a simple standard breath based meditation but feel i can’t do that one all the time as it is not valid as much in some way as the purely breath based ones. This summit is changing my view on this, I’m learning that you need to do whatever works for you and what seems right for one person will not necessarily fit all. I love that this is Danny’s favourite meditation too and that he does this on a bench in the park everyday, what a lovely habit to have. I love sitting in my garden doing the same and will do so more often now without feeling bad about it or that I ought to be doing something more worthy!

    Also can I just say what a lovely lovely smile you have Danny – when you laugh and smile, it lights up your whole face and your eyes twinkle with such warmth and kindness. Thank you for sharing your lovely wise words and wisdom with us.

  26. Victoria Kamhi

    Another wonderful session! I continue to be amazed at the outstanding speakers you have brought to us – thanks so much Melli for your hard work and dedication to making the Mindfulness Summit happen! Really enjoyed Danny’s talk – I’ve been working on my first novel and have been pretty stuck lately – am going to pick up Danny’s book and get my creative juices flowing again! 🙂 thanks so much to Gustavo – your meditation was very calming. Have to admit that I’m starting to feel very sad as I think about our Mindfulness Summit coming to an end. . .

  27. Theresa

    Many thanks for all of the work and planning you have done which will help so many, including me. ????
    I have been so impressed by the quality and quantity of the sessions. What a visionary and ground breaking endeavor. We are on the way to that critical mass, one at a time, Bravo!

  28. Maggie Naylor

    I just noticed that there are only three days left of this summit. Oh no! It has been my routine to get up and watch each interview/talk every morning and have enjoyed every minute. I am sad that it is almost over! Thanks again Melli and team for putting this summit together.

  29. Teresa Gray

    Thank you so much to Danny for a wonderful talk. You look such a wonderful calm person, so much we have to learn and so many books for me to buy!!! Of course no forgetting Melli again thank you for this wonderful 31 days which will change and better so many lives which in itself is a great achievement using our modern technology.

  30. Connie Swarthout

    Loving the entire summit. But the odd noises in the background during the guided meditations have been distracting. Is it a bird? Wondering if he hears the sound as he is commenting on just acknowledging any noises

  31. Maria T+Calva

    Wow I loved the way Danny explained this session. I was amazed on how he became into the mindfulness world…. I do not doubt mindfulness can help a lot with pain, but I cannot imagine being so concious and having a terrible physical pain at the same time, mostly when someone has not practicing a lot…. I have experienced a great relief with an emotional pain having a retreat of 4 days, and a lot of meditation practices that I was surprised, but physical pain I believe is a next stage, and I need to be more constant in my practice to … not be prepared but have the “tool” that will help me in such case…. Thanks so much for having this great summit, my first time here and I just feel hope, compassion, grateful, and love. Thanks a lot Melli and thank you each and everyone of your presenters!!!

  32. Carolina

    I just want to thank you for this incredible summit. I’m taking my first steps in formal practices of meditation and mindfulness, and this summit has inspired me to a greater commitment to be more aware in my daily life. I loved your phrase “this is it, this is my life” and also yesterday talk about forgetting and remembering. I think it’s really challenging to live in a more conscious way, but then as it was said yesterday “every time I forget is an opportunity to remember” and I found it a compassionate way of going through this experience it 😀

  33. Schalk Lubbe

    Tank you, Melli, for getting Danny to tech us some of his wisdom and practice. Interestingly, today was the first time where I actually “drifted off” during the practice … I tried focusing on the sounds around me, but simply almost fell asleep. I’m not blaming anybody. But I do feel that I did not get as much out of the practice due to my drifting off, which was entirely my own fault.

  34. Helena Saray

    Thank you to Dr Danny Penman and Melli for the engaging conversation and Danny’s relaxing and wonderful guided meditation.

    And thank you to Gustavo for his relaxing and wonderful guided meditation as well! Gratitude to all of you.

    I loved at the end what Danny said about what to him was the “essence of mindfulness…” beautifully said!

  35. Jess

    Thank you so much Danny and Melli this has been a blessing. As a creative working within the creative arts industry…I have found it to be stressful and have had been ill on and off for these past number of months, all brought on by stress and anxiety. I wasn’t feeling too well today, but since doing Dannys meditation, I have improved. Thank you so much again. Mindfullness is changing my life and my thihking. Namaste xxxx

  36. Janet Rampley

    Reading and working through Danny and Marks book, ‘finding peace in a frantic world’ has been a revelatory experience for me. I was in a very low place a few months ago and finding this book was the lifeline that I needed. I meditate (virtually) every day and am much kinder to myself than I have been for a very long time. I am also more aware now of when I am being judgemental and manage to be kind to myself (and others). I have recently purchased Danny’s creativity book and have read through it, with the intention of then going back and working through it week by week. However, my husband has now got his hands on it – so I shan’t see that for a while????!

  37. LEC

    WOW- heartfelt thanks to Gustavo for that beautiful, gentle meditation. And continuing to send gratitude to Melli and everyone behind the summit for bringing the world this wonderful opportunity. What an amazing month it has been.

  38. Cerys @PeersBeyondPain

    Wonderful. Thanks to my son’s tech skills were still able to listen even away from home stranded in our car. Due to storm flooding, strong winds,etc we were forced to stay put and sleep in the car, These speakers were a real gift. I’d gotten gel pens and intricate coloring books a couple days earlier 🙂 so we had opportunity to get creative like Danny mentioned. But Gustavo’s meditation was key in helping us get calm & even find a bit of rest in the midst of a harsh storm. The idea of being aware and easy-flowing with the sounds of the environment made it much easier to deal with the frightening aspects and I thnk we made better choices bc of it. We learned later the area we were in actually made the news! So thank you very much for this talk and meditation. Loving the whole Summit!

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