By the wondrous old age of 90 both my parents have seen enough of life to know that it unfolds according to its own agenda. Having been through a zillion shatterings and upliftings, they quietly confess that nothing much turned out the way they thought it would or wished it might. They like to say that everything in Life happens of its own accord.
To say “of its own accord” is another way of saying “by Grace” – and we can’t understand either the cosmic laws that orchestrate “happenings” or the dynamic of “Grace.” But we can have fun with concepts, while keeping the difference between concept and Reality in view.
My concept of Grace: active, dynamic, non-local information/intelligence. Primal Power.
My concept of Life: unborn, unmoving, immeasurable Primal Potential.
Without Grace, Life remains impotent.
Visual concept: Life’s omniscient and omnipresent Potential sit at the two corners of a triangle’s baseline, and Grace – omnipotence – forms the apex, transforming the connecting lines into form and unleashing creative energy.
When I show this bunch of concepts to the aged wise ones, they simply smile and make a cup of tea.
Here are some classic strategies for ‘unblocking creativity’:
protect your time
stay with it
protect your creative life
craft your real work
lay out nourishment for the creative life*
I used to hold hope in such strategies. It was great fun exploring them as I busily built a creative self. But now it’s different. I found out that there’s a screamingly simple way to open the door to creativity.
The two obstacles to creativity are thinking one knows what it is, and wanting it. Wanting to ‘be creative’ is the safest strategy I know to ensure you will never be creative. Just like wanting to be wideawake will ensure dreaminess.
Wild wideawakeness and creativity both lie beyond the reach of belief and believer.
My strategy is too simple to sell. It wouldn’t fill a ‘how-to’ book:
I simply stop, I sit down, and I shut up.
Great silence never fails to reset its own natural state: radical creativity.
*From Clarissa Pinkola Estes wonderful book, Women who Run with the Wolves
Creativity cuts through a pattern of thought that has become habitual and reflexive. Yesterday there was the freight train analogy; today – an oceanic oil slick comes to mind.
Habitual patterns of thought are like oil slicks on the surface of oceanic mind.
Oil slicks can be exquisitely patterned. The patterns are complex and colorful; they can rearrange themselves in endless variations. Attractive and seductive – yet how lethal when spread over the living, breathing, ecosystem of an earth ocean!
Mental oil slicks operate in the same suffocating manner. They contain only one component – the output of the conditioned memory machine.
And in the manner of an earthly ocean, when oceanic mind stirs up a storm (with a few fearless questions), crashing waves and spray break up the oil slick.
Even if the break is only temporary, Creation will have had a say.
Creativity will have surfaced.
Creativity is radical discontinuity in a pattern of thought.
~ David Bohm
Continuity of thought creates tic-toc habitude, linear and time-bound, chugging along like a freight train.
It takes some stopping, and can never be derailed volitionally.
Because the person who imagines they ‘have’ volition is the freight train incarnate.
What stops it in its tracks?
When tic-toc activity is clearly apperceived, creativity creeps through the cracks of habitude, slams on the brakes and the thinker-thought train is derailed.
Genuine creativity is Creation’s non-personal Intelligence in action.
What can be said about the overpopulation of the planet? What can be said about starvation, about terrorism, about climate change? What can be said about the spread of diseases like AIDS?
Whatever is said or imagined by thought will be the product of conceptualization – the same source that produced the problems, the questions, and that endlessly spins the solutions. But genuine change cannot be wrought by thought’s projections, for it only knows the known, and the known is the past. Revolution is never creative; it may be innovative, but that’s not the same as creative. Innovation is generated by thought re-arranging what it already knows. Is it possible for thought to find a new question? Or can new questions only arise from That which is beyond thought?
What thought knows cannot be the Truth for Truth is changeless and unknowable.
Go for the guts of IT: find the changeless, unknowable Truth and then see what happens to the rest.
Watch in amazement as Life rises to meet ITself – with wisdom and compassion and your name on ITs ID card.
For a long while – a decade or three – I thought and wrote and talked a great deal about ‘creativity.’ I taught workshops, spoke at seminars and wrote e-books on the topic.
It was, for me, the Great Mystery, the wonder of wonders that would flow in and infuse my work in the studio. I knew it well, yet I could never pin it down.
I understood, over time, what seemed to foster it, and what seemed to ensure its absence. I discovered it would only turn up when me-as-artist, me with the designs-plans-goals-skills-aversions was absent.
Eventually the gap between my two passionate preoccupations – ‘creativity’ and ‘the sacred’ – closed over.
Creativity is exactly that immeasurable, unknowable Creation pouring into the space vacated by the artist-person, manifesting ITs own magic, shocking the daylights out of me with its audacity.
And the sacred? Ditto. In other words, nothing I could put into words. Nothing I ever expected. Nothing that could ever be known.
And yet – expression happens! Such a marvel!
Sometimes one gets frustrated trying to find clean and accurate phrases to wordify this immaculate suchness – ‘n’ – the ‘what-is.’
Language – this English one at any rate – is quite useless for this purpose. Whatever is uttered immediately needs qualification, adjustment, explanation.
Perhaps poetry is the medium, but its technologies aren’t known to me.
(Are they knowable at all?)
The problem is the subject-object split.
If I say, “I am sad”, for example, I lie.
I cannot find an owner of sadness (or any-thing else).
Sadness simply is ‘what-is.’
Perhaps one could say, “I is sadness.”
But that would be grammatically clumsy. And also irrelevant, because the ‘I’ seeks no reason for it; ‘I’ has no aversion towards it; has no need to express it.
The sensation of sadness is an energetic body-brain response to apparent conditions, often appropriate and inevitable in the grand scheme of dream-scenarios – as is all suffering, at the bottom line.
And, like the dreams, changing, always changing.
How then to write about That which never changes?
Poetry is the medium.
Like creativity, knowing nothing about how to ‘do it’ is probably the only way for it to happen.