Friday, March 2, 2012

The Role Of Creativity

Detail, blown glass, ©Parker Stafford

One very big coping mechanism available to you in the midst of an awakening is creativity.  I cannot tell you how big this one is.  In fact, I feel its the very essence of this experience.  It was learning how to use creativity as way of tapping a clearer state of being that helped clear a channel within for this energy to flow in a way where it did not cause me to feel discomfort.  At the time, ego was very much installed front and center in the self.  What creativity allowed me to do was to channel the energy of transformation.

I have been an artisan for years.  I knew for years before that that many ideas had a way of showing up, as part of what inspiration was all about. This was an elusive creature, and artists often speak of chasing it, trying to find it as the one thing that brings their work new breakthroughs, new connections made within the self that allows for  interesting things to happen.  Musicians, for example, often speak of allowing the music to flow through them.  Mozart spoke of it in terms of something being channeled.  When everything is just right, the mind fires up, with the left and right hemispheres working together in a cooperative way that makes this experience possible.  Indeed, it is a kind of partnership of the self.  The whole self.  The left, the right, the masculine and feminine.  In an awakening something happens where both sides of the self merge into a greater unity.  The power of this union is echoed in the writings of early Christian mystics, of eastern gurus and those of us touched by it in the modern day. 

We very much associate creativity as being aligned with the feminine.  I think there is a reason for that.  Masculine is very aligned with action.  When alive in equal measure, the masculine can deliver the spark that results in the feminine bringing forth new forms, new ideas, things entirely beyond imagination only moments before. Its as though the masculine gives a sense of direction, of volition, intent, while the other side of it brings nothingness into somethingness as a result of the catalytic contribution of the masculine.  Its not one of the other, but both sides of our being working together in partnership.  This is a healing of the rift within, a movement towards wholeness of the left hemisphere/ male, right side/feminine.

Closeup detail, blown glass form, ©Parker Stafford

I feel that the fabric of the universe is predicated on creative energy.  Its how we show up here.  Its how dreams form, how new ideas emerge. Its the result of the polarity present in all things, pulling even the smallest of particles into a kind of relationship.  When enough of this happens, we can have life emerging, for example. We have creation myths that are...well....based in creative energy.  Something from nothing, something out of the consciousness of something still larger, given a new life, a life of its own.  And certainly our own creations are this.  A new idea can spread across the globe, filtering into the awareness of many people.  A song does this, a painting, and even the moment when someone does something new and different, through inspiration, that brings  a new way to do things that make life better or different.  It can lead to seeing and feeling in new ways, and it can literally shift our world individually and en mass.  Its a very civilizing effect.  It is the natural state of grace within us.  It is the grace that need not be tied to any belief or dogma, but to your own nature, your own feeling being.

Creativity once broke free the logjam within the Creator spirit.  Within it there rested countless, nearly infinite, forms, but they had not been given their own voice, their own volition.  When Creator surrendered to freedom, worlds emerged in totally unexpected ways. Creator lost control, learned surrender, and through a creative act, everything known came into being and thus also began co-creation where through the Law of Attraction, we interact with the divine universe through some very simple principles which all go back to energy...which is consciousness.  Layer upon layer of consciousness got into the act.  Our world, I suspect, was formed from the dream of those ancient beings that we are connected to, our own creators, who are also our larger selves.  Connected, children of the dawn of being, we have emerged in a world sparkling of possibility.  Creativity makes the conception of this possible.  It washes away hardness, rigidity, and fear.  It can. Some will create while worried, afraid, still chasing that elusive state of being, the creative, and may wind up finding it once the find that elusive place within where everything just clicks.  Its often a mysterious process because its not rational, not entirely.  The more you are able to slip into its flow, the more it can fill you, shift you, and blow away the cobwebs.  It is an exciting state where the air becomes rarefied.  The body responds with endorphins and even adrenaline.  In the right mix, a state of peace and excitement prevail.  We enter the garden once again.

The trick in all of this is to not direct it too much.  Support it, yes, relax, and enjoy it.  That is how this very gentle being will emerge in you.  This is the feminine side of creation.  She will fill you with inspiration when the masculine is there, supportive and feeding into her.  She will fill you with a very different sense of understanding....she is a feeling, a whole body experience whereas the masculine is more....definite in being pinpointed within.  Imagine at the top of your head are two wires that were once separate.  Now they are connected and there is this building of energy within you.  Kundalinietherically and physically.  You can use this energy.  In fact, sages yogins and priests in the past who have taught about kundalini have this idea called "sublimation."  Now, I have issues with this as my past writing has certainly pointed to. The energy is so strong, it feels like a force, a material or fluid flowing up inside of you.  Very real in this way, yes, but you are not doing what the ancients have suggested, which is transmuting bodily fluid, which is their conception of sublimation.  But the description certainly helps to explain how powerful and vivid all of this is. And so the idea is that when you take this potent energy which is so sexual and alive in you, you can use it for still larger widenings or openings of your awareness.  Certainly this is so.  By utilizing creativity, you are drawing that creative energy which is also the sexual (one powerful expression or facet of creative energy and bliss filled, too), and you can bring this energy upwards into ever higher circles of awareness within you.  As you do this, the energy which is itself conscious and aware will confer upon you awareness too.  Its an awareness that doesn't need to do anything, a feeling.  But this vast field of energy is like standing before the ocean and drawing off small amounts of it to turn it into things.  I think that this is one very big thing that teaches us directly how creation works.  We have the free will to create whatever we want.  We can create horrors or we can create amazing worlds of possibility.  We are all drawing off the same giant wellspring of being within and around us.

What creativity can do is to allow you to play, to loosen up, to stop being so rigid, afraid, and frozen.  Creativity, though, is predicated on letting go.  So is awakening. They go hand in hand in this respect.  Its an entirely non dogmatic method for reaching the place within that can help you to move, to flow, to be more whole.  It can give your rational mind the activity it needs while the larger self flows out all around you and feels more whole, more expansive.  Artists spend their whole lives chasing this often elusive state.  I think that by understanding how it all works could be a useful too in reminding yourself how you need to be.....which is a feeling after all, a simple way to relax. The other very important part of doing well in the creative state is to be present.  By being present, you do not worry how your creation is going to turn out.  You give yourself the room to get out of your own way by doing this, you release anxiety and fear, no matter how small or insignificant.  When you stop anticipating what will happen next, you are free to do what must be done in the present.  You stop living in the future and start living in the NOW.  This is very important.  The energy of awakening, while unbounded and free, seems to express itself best in the moment where your body is, where your awareness is most powerful.  Its a simple thing, really, but is sometimes elusive for all the mind chatter and habitual movement into the future.  When a child is lost in creativity, s/he isn't thinking about anything else except how nice everything is in the moment, a part of them willing to suspend expectation for a bit in order to see what emerges.  This is where he larger self can begin to slip through.  It isn't that the larger self is some voice in the clouds or some being in a fiery bush.  Its within you in the simplest of ways, but it has a kind of expansiveness about it and can bring a supreme peace to you. Peace is a very good thing. 

If you have trouble being present and not feeling some edge of anxiety, I suggest that you do a simple breathing exercise that will bring you to the present moment and get you back into your body.  By breathing through each nostril four times with the other nostril closed, making sure to breathe out of your mouth all the while and breathing out in a long slow sigh (don't breathe fast---think about how you might breathe while asleep and you will get the rhythm about right for this to work the best).  Once you have done this, you may find that whatever you were doing or thinking that led you to a nervous or agitated state has entirely gone out the window. How do you feel different than a moment before. What is different?  Are you much more present? Calmer? This can be a very powerful way to help yourself to settle into the present.  The while point is to create in a way that is more balanced.   You can always create in a very rational way, yes, and while it will offer some rewards, you can go much deeper into it if you let yourself. You will discover you have a great capacity to go ever deeper into this, much deeper than you thought was possible. it will lead to spontaneity,

The advantage that creativity can bring you is that it will blow away the blocks in your awareness and your emotions.  It will help you feel better.  It will make you feel more unified.  Trying to use this energy in an awakening can be amazing.  What new things might you create?  Imagine what might be possible while creating under the influence of this marvelous thing!
You don't have to feel "artistic."  Creativity flows all through your life. Its how you clean, its how you change a tire, or how you problem solve.  Its how you arrange flowers, wash the clothes, go about your day.  Your life can be a work of art, most certainly, but this thing is present in your day to day even though you do not feel like you are being creative.  When you engage both sides of your awareness and being, you are essentially tapping this creative font of being. We are all artists of one kind of another when we wake up to the fact that creativity is in every nook and cranny of our lives.  Henry Ford made cars three a day, then using his creativity, he was able to make one every thirty minutes.  This same thing has transformed our lives in innumerable ways.  Einstein used it as he rode that trolley car, imagining he was a beam of light when relativity struck into his entire being.  So powerful was the effect that he had to get off the trolley car.  The effect was so powerful that he felt it all through him. When a woman conceives, it is said she nurtures a miracle.  And so it is. An amazing miracle of our being here.  It civilizes us as our world is made more colorful, more appetizing with new menu items, new choices for experience. Its everywhere.  Your clothing was designed, the car you drive was designed, as was your tableware, the cups you drink from and the web sites you visit.  Its all made out of this creative fire that someone had, whether designing a tumbler or making up a business plan, painting, or child.

You just have to let it flow.  You have to be taken by it, seduced by its energy, willing to not know where it will take you.  If you are to intent on knowing where it will lead you, your own ego will get in the way and try to control things too much.  Mind and heart work together, even if they don't know exactly how its done, only that when merged, bliss is the result.  Yes, you DO direct it.  Yes.  You are co-creator in all of this.  You can, though, bring more material in on its wings if you will allow yourself to not always know why you are doing something or where you are going with it.

Last semester I had a student who is a perfectionist who was driven to tears as she stood by her work, barely started, unable to conceive how on earth she was going to be able to make something out of mere clay.  She was thinking it to death.  And she got scared.  What ifs filled her mind.  These grew from the little things they ought to be into dragons.  I said she was standing shivering on the edge of the river bank and all she needed to do was jump in.  Who knows if the water is cold.  Maybe it is, but all her friends were in there, beckoning her to just jump in.  And when she did, it was hardly anything worth worrying like she had over it.  She just jumped in.  No thinking, just merely intent.  And once in, she was at peace and relieved.  Turns out she had had a teacher many years ago who had not recognized her own innate creative self.  She thought of herself as an artist, and a bad experience resulted in her feeling fear.  Fear is the death of love, and of creativity.  All my students who are shut down are also fearful.  I simply let them know that for this time, they wont be whacked over the head.  Go play, I say. Make something that you will enjoy.  This is your chance.  And loosening up, they do. Uncertain at first, shivering by the edge of that vast river, they jump in and the room changes over a period of two days. Everyone relaxes and gets into their groove.  And just like swimming, you just DO it.  You don't have to think it to death.  You just move through it and enjoy how it feels to be part of this creative medium, your ocean of creation. Its less a plan as an experience.  You can plan and design, but this current must flow in order for it to be inspired.  Sometimes, just gazing out a window can be the perfect time for this lightening to strike you.  I have a student who gets ideas when she is taking a shower.  Its sometimes when aren't TRYING, but relaxing into a calm state. 

Let it flow. Allow yourself to direct, yes, but allow for the possibility for irrational decisions to be made in the moment.  You don't need to know.  And don't worry if they don't work out. Its a mystery, an experiment, and there will always be another opportunity to try again if for some reason things don't work out as you had anticipated.  Maybe next time, you will anticipate less and participate more. 

I blow glass. I make objects of sparkling beauty out of this alchemical material.  Made from earth, air and fire, water is used to cool and shape it.  The material is so fluid, I most often  let the material to flow into the shapes that it seems to most easily want to be.  That is how it seems.  Turning round and round, the forms are rounded, sumptuous, sensual and brilliant.  While its a lot like ballet where many moves are not as easy as they look when performed, when you reach a place where you can move the work without thinking about it, I am freed up to allow this current to flow through me and I find some part of me emerge that is without thought but presence. Interesting things happen when all of this goes on. Sometimes I don't even remember how something new was done.  New things come forward and I am part participant and part director.  Finding something that you are comfortable and enjoy doing is a big step I think.  Here, in the joy of doing, the flow can be felt.  When I have people in the studio working for the first time, everything goes so fast there isn't time to get too scared or tied up. Then people realize that with a little help, they are making sheer beauty!  And this feeling is huge, because its unifying and very encouraging.  The material captivates.  And its a good one because you can pour it onto the floor and pick it up after it has cooled and the drizzles will themselves catch the light and dazzle the eye.  Knowing that, its hard to make something that isn't marvelous.  And when you can feel THIS way, it opens a place of grace within you.  And through this grace-filled moment, the universe of you flows. There is a universe hiding inside, just waiting to be discovered!

Gold Andromeda Geode, ©Parker Stafford

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