OUR MIDWEEK MEDITATION: CREATIVITY
Creativity arises out of the state of thoughtless presence in which you are much more awake than when you are engrossed in thinking.
- Eckhart Tolle
What exactly is creativity? As a writer it’s something I often think about, particularly when the creative muse has gone missing, and I’m in urgent need of her – which is usually whenever a deadline is looming.
I think that most of us would describe creativity as a process whereby new ideas or concepts are generated. The professions that would most likely spring to mind would be the arts, and perhaps most specifically that of an artist.
Curiously, art was not actually considered creative until the Renaissance. The ancient Greek word for art – ‘techne’ is actually the root word for technique and technology, and art – with the exception of poetry – for the Greeks meant following rules.
Mind you, discipline, although less attractive than the idea that a single moment of creative genius can bring success, is as essential as the idea itself.
In other words – as simple as it seems – you can’t be something, unless you do it.
The concept of creativity is complex, partly because unlike results-based maths and sciences, there’s no absolute yardstick to measure anything by. Not that mathematics and sciences are not creative – take Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci as two examples of highly creative logical thinkers.
One thing researchers do agree on is that creativity involves more activity from the right-side of the brain, which is responsible for emotion, ideas and conceptual thought, so that any activity we can do that is conducive to producing that deep profound state of relaxation where creativity can make its presence felt is helpful.
Right & Left brains. An ad designed for Mercedes Benz. Image via Creative Jaunt.
Walking, meditation, time alone in nature, swimming – even the quiet insomniac hours of the night when you are awake and the world sleeps, are all ways to contact the muse.
Carl Jung, definitely a right and left-brainer, who understood the need to balance both, once said: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”
I remember once interviewing playwright Michael Gow, after the success of his play Away, and he told me that everyday he swam laps to create the next bit of the script. He would swim up and down the pool, plotting and planning, until he was ready to go home and write down the day’s work.
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