I tend to think about creativity from the point of view of the arts. If I write, paint, compose, etc., then I’m being creative. But I suspect that the most creative expression for me right now is to recreate my life, which means examining how I relate to the people in my life, what I do with my time, how I relate to money, food, sex, and so on. As I look at each of these areas I see patterns, habits, uninspected beliefs, and often, not a lot of liveliness. So, there’s lots of opportunity for change, which opens the door to creativity.
I’ll write more about what I find as I look into my life to uncover what’s really alive now and what only once was. I’d be interested to hear what others have discovered for themselves.
The creative process seems to be taking me on a road of co-creativity–engaging with others to manifest something new–as I find myself more drawn to collaboration than to the solitary pursuit of individual expression. The most common image of the creative person is of the lone painter, writer, or musician, coaxing a new work of art out of their muse. Artists often say that the novel, painting, or musical piece takes them over and they become the instrument to express it. This is collaboration with an inspiration, an energy. It’s something I’ve experienced but I’m more interested in the process of working with another person at this point. I find this happening through the dialogic process, in which people come together to discover why they have come together! It interests me that the open-minded, open-hearted meeting of individuals who want to explore the dynamic of the group energy usually results in an intensification of that energy, and I’m curious to see what can emerge from it.
For me a creative life includes creating things including works of art. It also means life as jazz where we are free from tired habits and dead and lifeless responses. Here life becomes an improvisation, including changing the dance with others. I like your question ‘Is it alive?” In Bushman culture they believe that there is a first creation, prior to words, where everything was constantly changing and transforming. With the advent of words came second reality where everything became fixed. A healer is said to be able to stand with one foot in each reality, bringing life into the second creation.
Who is it that is exploring creativity? Is there something in us that has control over the exploration?
Is there a me that has control over the thought process? If so, it would seem to mean that something other than the thought process would have to have intelligence in order to use thought. Is there something in ourselves that is separate from thought, and makes decisions? What is making decisions? Who is the thinker of the thoughts? Is it possible that thought has given rise to the whole idea of a thinker, and that thought itself is creating a notion of something separate from thought?
If there is no seperate one who is in control of it all, then what is moving? Wouldn’t it be the whole thing undivided? But the separate one seems to rule, with its authoritarian principals it tries to take control of itself and others. If we look at the human world around us, we can see the separate one at work, with its various authoritarian ideologies in conflict and at war, vying for control. Who is this separate one?
In other words: What is it in us that thinks it is wondering, thinking, or trying to explore creativity? Is there something there that thinks it is separate from the thought process? Is there something there that is wondering without the thought process? Is there something there that is trying hard to explore the creative process? Is it possible for the exploration to happen by itself?
My apologies if this seems too off topic.
Talking about thought and its movement, and whether there is something separate from thought that is doing the thinking, can be quite a challenge. Especially in terms of communicating or bringing attention to something. For example, even as we use the word “thought”, when we hear that, isn’t there a tendency to see what is being referred to as something separate from what is looking at it? In other words, doesn’t “thought” tend to be something other than us, “us” being that which is looking and listening?
Does this mean that “thought”, as we are hearing the word used, is separate from us, sort of like a picture or idea or abstraction? In this, does thought then become something that needs to be dealt with, like a problem or puzzle to be solved?
Are we missing something in all this? Is our very perception of “thought” as we hear it used revealing something about the way in which we are perceiving things? Is it possibly revealing a framework from which we are perceiving? Does this framework perceive itself as being separate from whatever is being referred to, no matter what it hears or thinks or feels?
Is this framework possibly the very thing that was being discussed in Paul’s contribution? A framework that perceives everything in reference to itself, meaning, as being separate from itself?
Even when it considers itself (as in “me”), isn’t this typically seen as a thing that is separate from the perspective that is perceiving it? Has our perspective divided itself from itself, turned itself into an idea, something outside of it that it can examine, analyze, hold in its hand and scrutinize? In this, is our perspective actually seeing itself directly?
Is this the only way in which this perspective can operate, from a framework of division?
Is it possible to notice this very activity going on, even as we are reading this? To notice our very perceptions, how they are arising? Meaning, intimately, actually as they are? To see how we are perceiving things as being separate from ourselves, as “things”? Is this framework of perceiving not just another thing separate from ourselves, but instead actually what we assume and perceive to be “us”? Is what we call “I” or “us” actually this very perspective that assumes it is perceiving? In seeing this, is there just perceiving, with the “perceiver” just being part of perceiving, not separate from it? Is this remarkable to notice, fresh, immediate, alive? Is it creative in itself?
I think it’s possible to use words like “I” and “thinking” without implying separation. If we start with the assumption of unity, we can use such words, and I think they’re preferable to awkward constructions such as “this one” or referring to oneself in the third person. I’m less interested in the question of identity and more interested in what happens when people come together with the intention to create – this is indeed happening without control, without my effort, etc. This is exactly what makes it interesting. “What is it in us that thinks it is wondering, thinking, or trying to explore creativity” is life, which it is not possible to push.
I’m wondering what you mean by life?
Yes, the words themselves are not what is important, but how they are being used or heard. In other words, what might lie behind the words, the perspective that is reflected in their usage, that is viewing it all. That seems quite a rich, interesting and creative question in itself, something we might all share in. And it might impact the intention to create, something very interesting might be revealed in coming upon it.
I wonder, isn’t it possible that the very discussion taking place here might be part of creativity, a shared interest in what is happening, even without intention? Which is not to imply that intention should or shouldn’t be. It just seems that the unexpected tends to arise on its own, without any realization that it is happening beforehand, and without knowing where to look for it. It seems to me that it tends to “emerge”, for example when people come together to look in a shared way, as referenced above.
I’m using “life” to mean everything, nothing, existence, non-existence, the unknown, myself. It’s a stand-in for what we “experience” but cannot know, for what is happening, but cannot be captured. You could also call it energy.
“Creativity” in my life is, at the moment, expressing in a solitary way. It’s like work, working towards something even though I feel incredibly awkward, silly, and unguided. At this point, it’s the engagement that matters. The commitment. The showing up. Over and over. Stepping into territory that doesn’t make sense to me, that I feel 100% completely inadequate at doing, that embarrasses me and makes me feel like a young child having a tantrum, a young child scared to step in fully. But that’s the energy. That’s the commitment. It’s there as a test, a doorway. Or maybe more like a hallway, and I have no idea how long this hallway is, or how dangerous. All I know is that it’s dark and I might as well keep moving forward. But it’s so tempting to stay close to the beginning of the hallway, where the light is, just in case I need to jump back and see my way back to my room easily and quickly.
For me, this is “creativity” right now. I use quotes because in reality I think that all things are probably creative, or contain creative potential. It’s really not just artistic endeavors. That’s what we’ve come to call “being creative” in society because we box everything up and label it, but it’s an energy that pervades all things. At least that’s what I’d like to think. My cynical side says that it’s all foolish, all this activity and trying, all this thinking that I’m really stepping forward and “engaging.” Maybe I’m a rabbit on a wheel with a dangling carrot in front of me. How do I trust this movement? How do I trust this interest? How do I trust this passion?
In this way, solitary “creativity” is just as rich and full as collective “creativity,” in that deep questions are present, deep struggles are present, seemingly unsurmountable odds and lethargy and excuse and meaninglessness – interpretations that can show up in either case and that hold us back.
But I do think that there’s some fundamental differences between solitary and shared space. We get reflected back to ourselves differently, and each contains something we can’t get from the other. So I’m putting in a good word for solitary creative endeavors (and I don’t think anyone has actually been trying to put it down, it just seems like the trend is towards “collective is better.”) Perhaps sometimes we can’t actually reach into the collective without knowing something unshakable from the solitary. Now I’m known for making excuses, avoiding things, and being vague and broad – not the best track record; I don’t intend those qualities with these words. They do appear relevant and true to me in this moment.
It’s amazing, how different we can be from how we think we MIGHT be.
Thank you Keymaster for elaborating on what you mean by life.
I make my living as a photographer, mostly nature, land, and sea scape photography.I don’t see myself creating the images, or finding them, or making it all happen. I see the images coming to me. The images present themselves, they show me what looks right for the digital canvas.Do I decide what thought is going to come up next in my mind? What is it that is moving what comes up next? Is there a me, a thinker that decides what comes up next, what my next images is going to look like, or is all of life creating? Does openness have something to do with letting all of life move in a person and onto the canvas? Not the openness of a doer or seer, but the openness that moves freely and uninhibited in the one who is trying to make it all happen? Is creativity its own movement, or is someone moving creativity, making it happen?
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