Andy Warhol with his eyes closed. We like to imagine that he’s Mindsurfing.

A case for closing your eyes

If you’re reading this, you likely know that at Seymour we’re fascinated by the subconscious mind. We feel that it is an extraordinary reservoir of potential creativity and we believe that ‘looking inward’ and exploring this rich hidden ocean, this ‘sea inside’ is something that everyone should do.

At Seymour, we call this kind of subconscious exploration MINDSURFING, because that’s just what it feels like. You’ll see, surfing your brain waves is just like surfing ocean waves.

It is a valuable and fascinating undertaking. It relaxes your brain, affords you a break from all the external stimuli and enables you to calm your thoughts. It also gives you access to deeply buried ideas and images that can be really compelling starting points for all of your projects.

As Seymour is particularly interested in the artistic self-expression that comes of self-exploration, we suggest that you try to express these ‘discoveries’ through a creative outlet, ie: drawing, painting, writing.

Whether you consider yourself ‘artistic’ or not, we think you’ll find the experience itself really cool and the results fascinating. And remember that what you initially express as your ‘output’ doesn’t have to be ‘good’ or ‘arty’,  we just want you to flow it out in one smooth stream and keep your rational ‘thinking’ brain out of the equation in an effort to keep the results ‘uncontaminated’. The key here is to not think about what you are doing, just to sort of set up the conditions and kind of just watch yourself do it.

Want to give it a try? Here’s what we suggest:

– Get yourself to a quiet, private space.

Live in a small house? Have a roommate? Or kids? No excuse. At some point they all sleep. Stay up 30 minutes longer than they do one night- bam! That’s your quiet time.

Your private space? Everyone has a closet, right? Go sit in it and close the door. That will do fine, you don’t need a lot of physical space, remember you’re heading ‘inside.’

– Take a couple of deep breaths and calm the fuck down. You know you’ve been speeding around all day, your thoughts are all over the place. Picture a rough ocean and watch it from a distance until the waves slowly settle from choppy to flat.

– Then picture yourself lying on your belly on a surf board, the water is warm, the salt tingles on your skin, you feel awesome. Now paddle out toward the horizon. It’s effortless. You are alone, it is blissful. All you can hear is the lulling ebb and flow of the waves.

-Hang out there for a while, just chilling with the seagulls. Oh look, a school of fish swish by. Cool, huh? Now notice your thoughts.

Oh shit. Sayonara, surf city! … you’re back in the closet now, right? All the stress and commitments of your ‘real’ life just came pouring back into your brain like a load of garbage being dumped off a ship into the pretty ocean. Let your anxious thoughts pour out and then watch them sink to the bottom and fade away. Your brain should be calm again now.

-Bring your mind back to the ocean watch the horizon line. You’re lying on your board, your chin rests on the edge. Try to see the next thought you have as a gentle wave rising peacefully, you see it form, it rolls toward you, getting bigger and bigger as it approaches and soon it washes over you. You may have a moment of panic as it crashes down on you, but you soon see that there it nothing to worry about, the waves are gentle.

-Try to approach each new thought in the same manner- as a wave that you watch approach, cover you and dissipate. Watch your thoughts like this for a few minutes, observing them from a distance, letting them come toward you, wash over you and then dissolve.

You should be feeling pretty mellow by now.

-Now, sit up on your surfboard and look up at the sky. It’s pale blue and cloud free. Pretend it is a movie screen like at a drive in. Notice the images that come up on it. Look at them closely and record them in your mind’s eye. Whatever those first images or words are, is likely what is floating around the top of your subconscious mind. Now look back down at the ocean, notice yourself on your surf board and start slowly paddling back to shore. Once you’re there: open your eyes.

-Slowly stand up (hopefully everyone else is still asleep) and go get a paper and pencil and write down what you saw up in the sky.  If you have time, make a drawing, write a story or a poem. If you don’t have time, just jot down the thoughts and come back to them later.

As you get better and better at Mindsurfing, you’ll be able to sneak off and go for a mind surf anytime you’re stuck for an idea or generally suffering from lack of inspiration. You’ll also get more adept at letting the subconscious thoughts flow out and you’ll also progressively learn how to better ‘translate’ and incorporate them into your creative projects. Instead of ‘thinking’ with your conscious brain, and trying to force things by scanning external sources for a solution we hope that you’ll get in the habit of looking inside yourself.

We guarantee that the thoughts and images that bubble to the surface, however incongruous they might appear at first glance, will be a great starting point for all your projects, creative and otherwise.

Now, before we get an avalanche of comments, we’d just like to add that we are not trying to sneakily get you to meditate, nor are we certified clinical psychologists (well, actually Yosef one of our contributing editors is, but he had nothing to with this post so don’t blame him) …all we are trying to do is inspire you to dig into your own subconscious when seeking inspiration for your projects because we think that’s where your most powerful stuff is.

Authentic personal expression. That’s what we want from you.

To take a recent example: When Felix Baumgartner got the idea to jump from space (holy fuck!) all the way down to earth, where do you think he got such a wild and wonderful idea? From looking at what others were doing? We don’t think so. Felix was likely replying to an inherent subconscious impulse and also leveraging his incredible imagination to accomplish his vision.

We’d have liked to have been in that initial meeting at Red Bull: “Hi I’m Felix, I would like to build a hot air balloon 50 stories high and head 25 miles into space and then jump down to earth.”

Some people thought what he did was amazing, others thought it was a gargantuan waste of time and money. Neither matters. You know who was happy? Felix. That’s what we want for you. Happiness.

Screw what everyone else thinks, ignore what’s hip, just get brave and follow your own creative instincts.

We’re not saying that we want you to be a balls-out daredevil, we just want you to find out what would make you feel amazing and indescribably proud if you accomplished it, and we think it begins by getting in touch with that authentic part of yourself- the one ‘under’ it all, that knows you better than you do.

So c’mon, surf your mind,  go find out what you’ve got hidden in there. Wild, weird, whatever… trust us, the world wants it!

Close your eyes and leap.


To read more about how to participate in our current Surf Your Mind project, please click here:



Published: October 16th, 2012

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