The practice of surrender is an exercise recommended by many of the most recognizable spiritual gurus. We hear that letting go of resistance and accepting the is-ness of the present moment is key to achieving a lasting inner peace.
I have also read much about the link between true creativity and spirituality. Eckhart Tolle says that “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” In learning this I began to attempt to tap into my creative side. I thought that in doing this I would also be tapping into my own spiritual dimension. This is where my question appears. If I am being creative as a way of transcending my unhappy current state, is this actually a form of not surrendering to the realities of the present moment?
True creativity comes from stillness, but can creativity also lead to stillness?
One thing I had noticed about my life prior to being introduced to the spiritual dimension is that I had practically no outlet for creativity. There was no vehicle through which any artistic creation could emerge. By starting to write poetry I wanted to open that door and see what popped out.
However, poetry has become something I am hoping will lead me to a more enlightened state. Rather than enjoying the act of creating on it’s own I have burdened it with the task of transcendence and infinite wisdom. In fact, I find that all of my doing has become polluted with outcomes and expectations. I rarely do things out of a natural instinct, but instead look at how each task will affect my spiritual journey.
I need to go much deeper into surrender and make space for whatever comes next.
I still dream of writing a beautiful poem that touches many but to write beautiful poetry you need to see beautiful things. John Keats said “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”. Perhaps through surrender I will see truth.
If you are creating from your mind it is most definitely an active, exhausting exercise. It requires a lot of work, and focus, and self criticism of the product as it is developing. Satisfaction comes from the final product but the process is not enjoyable.
If you are creating from your heart it is a passive, observational exercise. It requires a letting go of any preconceptions of what it should look like. It is inward activity. The deeper your connection with your inner self the more easily the creation flows through you. It is a very enjoyable exercise and requires little effort.
Unfortunately most of my creative efforts are active exercises. Perhaps a line or two comes to me naturally, but then my mind takes over as I build around it.
Occasionally, my writing is just a brain dump. If I am angry or frustrated and just need to get it out of me I will just sit down at a keyboard and start writing. I edit nothing and just let the anger flow. It is a cathartic exercise but does not contain much beauty.
Last week was somewhat of a bad week for me. A couple of things happened to me that left my feeling quite stressed and very isolated. With nowhere to turn outwardly I almost automatically turned inward and found momentary peace. It was while I was in this state that I decided to pick up my guitar. As I started to play Brown Eyed Girl for my daughter I could feel that my creative side was active. I was pretty much putting no thought or effort into the song but the words were coming out flawlessly and I was more on key than was normal. It felt strange. There was a connection there. I felt for the first time that I had tapped into the true source of creativity. It didn’t last but it’s like new world has opened. I can’t wait for the next time!
The purpose of art is to transcend the senses. The very senses through which it comes to be. A poem, for instance, takes something as limited as the english language and attempts to use it as a catapult. It points to something far beyond the definitions of the words it uses. It creates a feeling, an unspeakable understanding of something which can’t be precisely talked about. In art there is no logic, there is nothing you can hold onto. It’s only job is to create space, to knock back those walls which limit possibility within your own existence. When it doesn’t make sense is when it is most effective. If your pre-established brain patterns can’t wrap itself around what’s being said it has two choices: throw the art away and call it garbage, or thought itself must be discarded. You must then feel art and not describe it. When in the presence of a wonderful painting it is enough to just to be with it. There is no need to admire the skill behind it’s creation. Let the emotion of the artist be replicated within yourself. The only truth that exists in the Universe is the truth of experience. When you share an experience of another through art you share a permanent bond. You understand yourself and others more completely. It is the cultivating of this kinship that will ultimately bring humanity together.
Am I trying to create art, or build my lifes purpose?
Tap into a resource or some hidden force
Better lost and content than searching for home
Write a poem that resonates and I’m not so alone
But what if 10,000 people clicked on that star
Would I quit my job, pick up my pen and guitar
Honestly put I want it all to come easy
A new post that goes viral, just not Cyrus gone sleazy
As if popularity means destiny
Brings fame, ends my quest for me
Interviews and book deals
Cleaned house and cooked meals
Even now this fantasy feels… inadequate
Visions of lounging by the pool making the best of it
But in the silence of me I see a new truth emerge
Of why I make hope a permanent fixture
Constantly revised dreams are kept beyond reach
Knowing if realized they are not what they seem
Deep down I feel fear for that power of now
That this mouse click or screen touch is all I’m allowed
How such simplicity could comfort my soul
Or settle my fears as this body grows old
Expectations of grandeur blurry the signs
Keep both my feet planted firmly in time
I must honour this journey that some days I hate
Practice patience but without time how does one wait?
When I began to create it was in a search for the self
Diligently I work to keep it separate from wealth