In her book, Coming Back To Life, Joanna Macy remarks on the poignancy of this current point in time, which is characterized by a slow yet steady awakening to the state of humanity and the state of the planet. "We don’t break free from denial and repression by gritting our teeth and trying to be nobler, braver citizens. We don’t retrieve our passion for life, our wild, innate creativity, by scolding ourselves and soldiering on with a stiff upper lip. That model of heroic behavior belongs to the worldview that gave us the Industrial Growth Society. The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying our world—we’ve actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other."
Joanna Macy is ahead of her time and these words are even more apropos 20 years later. The collective tipping point into greater consciousness offers us all the option of waking up more fully to who we are, what our purpose here is and how we need to go about achieving it. After working with people in a creative capacity over the course of the last 20 years, it has become increasingly clear to me that accessing and harnessing our creative impulses on a micro level is essential for our own personal progress and equally critical on a macro level to facilitate our collective evolution beyond limited and dated ways of perceiving and operating. Active engagement with our right brains allows us to problem-solve at a much higher level. This is where disparate dots are connected, synergy occurs, and innovation lives. By engaging our intuition we wake these parts of ourselves up. We begin to see possibility where it didn't exist before and the significance of Einstein's words take on new meaning: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is if as everything is a miracle." To Macy's point, we must wake up to a renewed version of ourselves, vision of the world and how we relate within it but this cannot be achieved through force or discipline alone. We are called to soften our hearts and return to our essential Selves with deep compassion for and kindness toward self and other. This is what will allow our hearts and minds to open and conceive of a new way of being and doing.
Legendary Physicist, David Bohm emphasizes how imperative it is for each individual to wake up to his or her own intrinsic creative potential. He makes the analogy that just as the body requires breath to survive, the mind needs creativity. "Our failure to originate creative responses lies in the fact that our minds have become mechanical in their responses." The mind is essentially responding to new information with dated data. "When the mind reacts mechanically with a conditioned rather than original response, the result is dissatisfying and confusing because how the mind operated or the orders it gave are inconsistent with what is present in reality." As challenging as it is to respond authentically with an open and creative mind, based on the current state of humanity, there is nothing more important.
When asked about how the role of creativity has altered science based on the theories that Bohm has introduced, he responds with the following answer. "Many people realize that creativity is an essential part of science. Creative insight is required for new steps. I feel that creativity is essential not only for science, but for the whole of life. If you get stuck in mechanical repetitious order, then you will degenerate. That is one of the problems that has grounded every civilization: a certain repetition. Then the creative energy gradually fades away, and that is why the civilization dies. Many civilizations vanished not only because of external pressure, but also because they decayed internally."
David Bohm indicates how significant creativity is by suggesting that the death of a civilization is rooted in the failure for the civilization to invent new ways of coping with a constantly changing and shifting reality. When old methods continue to be employed, they will inevitably fail because they were not designed to function as tools that are applicable for what’s happening right now. When we are awake in our life and aware of the power and potential of our own creative minds then we become capable of dealing with virtually anything that comes our way. However if we are half asleep with our minds cruising on automatic pilot then we become much less capable of reacting with an accurate, authentic and effective response.
We each have an inherent creative gift to offer the world that if realized, will create a very specific and important ripple. We need to follow the calling of our heart and spirit and function in the world in a way that honors who we are and our intrinsic gifts. When we are acting out our purpose then engaging our imagination and discovering its limitless potential becomes effortless. For myself, creativity tangibly dwells within certain practices that I consciously employ in order to access and commune with consciousness itself, such as making art. However, it also dwells intangibly in almost all acts of creation in my life...even within the monotony of my daily existence. Whether I am writing a letter, taking a bath, articulating a point or relaying a story to a friend, I am in touch with, open to and deeply trusting in the creative force that enables me to choose the right words, address the appropriate topic and pick the right moment to speak. It is the same force that propels the earth to spin, the buds to open and the tides to change in the same rhythmic pattern over and over again. In Creativity, Where the Divine and Human Meet, Mathew Fox claims the following. “Imagination brings about not just intimacy but a big intimacy, a sense of union with the cosmos, a sense of belonging and being at home, of our knowing we have not only a right to be here but a task to do as well while we are here.” Creativity connects us to the most essential facets of who we are and therefore we become engaged in an intimate relationship with our own divine nature, which unites us with the divine force that propels all of creation. Engagement with this force generates awareness about some of the fundamental questions we grapple with. Such as, who am I? What is my purpose? What is important? When we are engaging our creative self, we are deepening and enhancing our relationship to a divine intelligence that facilitates and even directs our expansion and growth.
Waking up to my own innate creative power and potential has been a catalyst for a much clearer recognition of what I’m supposed to do here in this life, with this body and with the information I have extracted from the sequences of events and experiences that have shaped who I have become. From blaring revelations to the quiet wisdom I have acquired on my journey thus far, the knowing that resonates far beyond the rest is my absolute certainty that creativity is the way. There is no exact path. No creative doctrine or scripture to show the way. However, when our hearts are open to the unfolding, mysterious nature of existence and our minds and bodies are creatively and actively engaged in what surfaces, then we are aligning ourselves with Creation itself. Change is conceived through creativity and it is within the walls of our imagination that we can construct a new and advanced vision for our own lives as well as the outcome of the whole of humanity.
I leave you with this passage by John Daido Loori in his book, The Zen of Creativity as a reminder of the inherent nature and function of creativity. "Creativity is our birthright. It is an integral part of being human, as basic as walking, talking and thinking. Throughout our evolution as a species, it has sparked innovations in science, beauty in the arts, and revelation in religion. Every human life contains its seeds and is constantly manifesting it, whether we’re building a sand castle, preparing Sunday dinner, painting a canvas, walking through the woods, or programming a computer. The creative process, like a spiritual journey, is intuitive, non-linear, and experiential. It points is toward our essential nature, which is a reflection of the boundless creativity of the universe."