Last time: Go Creative! It's Your Native State.
Everyone’s talking about creativity these days and all are agreed it’s a good thing. Governments now tell their schools and colleges to teach it, their businesses to hitch their bottom line to it, their artists to develop industries based on it.
Their language though — words like “SMART goals”, “strategic implementations”, “innovative business models”, “systems management” — point to a failure to understand the single most fundamental, non-negotiable, principle of the creative process: that creation is a process not of control but of surrender.
We all have dormant creative capacities lying underused. Activating them requires us to drop out of our conditioned, conventional thinking-mind (what we will call Surface Mind in this blog series), with nothing in place but intention and imagination. This is the very thing that many of the educators, entrepreneurs, innovators and, indeed, artists who seek creative mastery cannot do.
They want to harness the magic of inspiration in action but they don’t know how to let go of their will, their ego, their need to dominate. They try to appropriate creativity, to take it over and use it for their own ends and quickly find this is impossible.
Creativity is not about product but process; not about the ends but the means; not about the future but about here and now. And when we choose it as our way of approaching life, we have to let go and open up to the unknown.
Only by understanding that, and by getting to know what the process entails as lived experience, not theory, can we become consciously creative. Without that, we are doomed to talk about creative potential while failing to live it.
How to Create Anything
This blog series is for anyone who wants to know how to consciously create anything. It’s not just for artists or writers, though they will learn much that will benefit their work, but for anybody who wants to activate the creative intelligence that lies underused in us all, and apply it to — even to those things we don’t normally think of as creative: like relationships or money or time.
Its premise is that you can create anything you truly want, once you allow two things:
• Allow yourself to truly want it (acknowledging its price).
• Allow that while you can create anything you want, you can’t create everything you want. (acknowledging that you must select).
With those acknowledgements in place, you can create anything you want.
Yes, anything. The same process that creates one thing creates everything.
When I lived in Dublin, I used to teach a module called Creative and Imaginative Practice to postgraduate students, in a class made compulsory by our farseeing Director of Studies, so the many students who would not be attracted to such a course had to attend. In the first session each autumn, I would ask: “Hands up those who think they are not creative”. Always at least half the students in the room put up their hands.
This is clearly crazy. To be alive is to create. Nobody is born “uncreative” — just observe any child. Yet by the time we have grown up, the majority of us have disconnected from that vital source of energy and power. (And university campuses are where you will find many of the most disconnected, prisoners of the tyrant intellect, animated only by opinion or concepts or analysis, most alive from the neck up.)
That so many of us doubt our creative capacities is the result of a cruel process of attrition that begins in childhood, a process of discouragement and condescension. Much of what you will learn in this blog series will be about “unlearning” what that discouragement and condescension has taught, so you can experience the mystery that, earlier in life, was an everyday part of your experience.
“From time to time,” says writer Pamela Travers, “that mystery, as if it were a sun, sends down upon one head or another, a sudden shaft of light, by grace one feels, rather than deserving — for it always comes as something given, free, unsought, unexpected.” Releasing your creative potential will require you to acknowledge the mystery and step into its shafts of light.
Next time: Creative versus Conceptual Intelligence