Friday, February 18, 2011

Creativity and the Self

There's an article in the current Yoga Journal about pleasure in yoga practice by Sally Kempton, and there's a bit about creativity as one of the 5 basic levels of pleasure that are necessities for balanced life.  The 5 she gives are pleasures we get from sensual pleasure, loving intimacy, purposeful action, creativity, and of immersion in spirit (what you get at as a result of a yoga practice).

She defines creativity as more than just creating an object.  Rather, it includes the feeling of inspiration that results from a creative idea and discusses the physiological impacts on the brain.  All the the actions she mentions trigger the pleasure centers of the brain sending dopamine and serotonin to the cortical area.  But there is also a divine aspect of this moment of inspiration that speaks to the universality of the creative impulse.

She says,
"The pleasure of true creativity comes from the fact that it connects you directly to the Self, to the innate creativity of the universal consciousness itself."

Creativity is not limited to one person over another in this view, but she does mention that there are limitations to experiencing the pleasure of creativity.  Understanding these, we can learn to get rid of them.

Kempton says,
"First, you have to be willing and able to surrender to it - to let go of fears, doubts, and beliefs that block you from receiving inspiration."

Of course, this is what yoga practice is all about: releasing blocks and helping us to surrender our ego to something greater.

"Second, you need to have the skill and patience to translate the inspiration into action.  And third, you need to be able to notice and avoid the pride that comes in when you are tempted to 'own' the gifts of inspiration.  Experiencing the full depth of joy in inspiration demands that you let go of the feeling 'I did this,' and that you recognize that creative inspiration comes from the essence, from the Self."

Whether or not you believe in/accept some sort of divinity (which is something I still grapple with), it can help to think of the creative impulse as something universal that will be there if we allow it to happen.

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