Creativity and Conscious Evolution
I picked up a book the other day by Rollo May called The Courage to Create, published in 1975. Rollo May was an existential psychologist, and I think he was quite influential in some of Ken Wilber’s early stuff. His half-brother, Gerald May, wrote a classic in the recovery field, calledAddiction & Grace. Anyway, The Courage to Create is about the process of creativity, and there is an existential flavor to the book. One of the really extraordinary and exciting things about using theProfound Meditation Program in an ongoing transformational practice is that we become more creative. So, let me share with you a paragraph from May:
“But what the artist or creative scientist feels is not anxiety or fear; it is joy. I use the word in contrast to happiness or pleasure. The artist [and I would say that’s all of us who are doing this stuff], at the moment of creating, does not experience gratification or satisfaction, though this may be the case later. Rather, it is joy. Joy defined as the emotion that goes with heightened consciousness, the mood that accompanies the experience of actualizing one’s own potentialities.”
It seems there is a great deal of joy associated with creating, whether we are cooking a meal, playing an instrument, writing a song, essay, or blog, building a new business, raising children, or forming a relationship with our pet. Why is that? I think it’s because creativity is one of the primary, essential qualities of the universe. So, when we engage in the act of creating, we get the feeling we are very close to something essential. Call it “God,” call it the regenerating, creative urge of the universe itself, which we seem to be on the cutting edge of as human beings, or call it what you will.
Not only are we being evolved by the universe, and by the drive of evolution itself, but as we move into the 21st century we have also become aware of our evolution. I think that this is one of the qualifying characteristics of modernity when we realize, “Evolution is happening.” We started out as very simple entities, and over time, we have evolved into very complex and very interesting beings. This is happening not only to us and our fellow travelers on this evolutionary journey, but also in the world around us and to all the other species that inhabit this space with us. So as we move from modernity to postmodernity, and perhaps to Integral or post-postmodernity, we become conscious of evolution, and we consciously evolve. In other words, we are aware of the process that’s going on inside of us, or through us, and we work with it in a conscious way. We start becoming the conscious agents of our own evolution, and not only our own evolution, but also the evolution of the world around us. This is really exciting.
As May was saying in his book, The Courage to Create, when we participate in creating, there is an essential joy that comes online. I’m coming up on my seventh-year birthday for doing brain entrainment meditation next month, and it has been a heck of a journey. I have become much more creative. I think I may have always been creative, but before this I was struggling with a lot of depression. When you’re depressed, a lot of the self-talk sounds like, “You’re not smart enough. You’re not good enough. You’re not this enough or that enough.” So, your own internal message, whether conscious or unconscious, actually gets in the way of really living up to your potential.
However, when those conditionings become conscious and start to loosen up, we can see them for what they really are: fictions we have created about ourselves, which are not really based on anything but maybe prior experiences, perhaps while we were growing up or from when we were teenagers. We find that these fictions are no longer very useful, real, or appropriate at this stage in our lives and that it’s time to let them go. This loosening up creates new space and new channels for creativity to flow through, and then we begin to get into it. Also, we become less fearful about making mistakes because making mistakes is one of the ways that the creative process works. As Roger Walsh, psychiatrist and philosopher, says, “Spiritual progress happens one body length at a time.” Right? We fall on our face, we make a lot of mistakes, and we keep going.
When we allow ourselves to be okay with that and just get into it, to work hard on our skill sets and practices, then we start getting creative. There is essential beauty and joy in this. Life becomes much more positive. Thoughts like, “I can’t do that; that’s impossible; I’m an addict” fall away, and are replaced with, “What is there to do? What am I supposed to be doing? How can I create? How can I hang out with this? How can I hold the questions and feel into my own inner genius, into my own inner sense of divine guidance and wisdom?” There are a lot of ways to talk about creativity, but it’s certainly extraordinary and I don’t think we have to fear that we could ever exhaust it. I think it is an infinite source that we can tap into. That’s why we don’t have to be afraid of going deeply into our selves, because the deeper we get, eventually it starts getting lighter, and lighter, and lighter, and we find out that we are really vast. Even within our own individual selves, we are vast. Our interiors are vast, and they connect us to infinite vastness. It goes beyond our mere individual selves.
On the more physical level, when we’re doing the Profound Meditation Program, what’s going on is that our brain is beginning to integrate and function at progressively higher levels. So, it just gets better and better. One of the first effects that people noticed about this type of technology back in the early days, in the 70s when it first came online, is that the left and right hemispheres begin to function equally. In other words, without really working on it, without practice, most of us are pretty much right or left brain dominant. The left-brain dominant people are more out there, linear, figuring things out intellectually, getting it done, as it were. And, the right-brain dominant people tend to be more interior, more receptive, more spiritual, if you will, more feminine. Both of these are really essential aspects, the yin and yang of the universe, the masculine and the feminine, the positive and the receptive. It’s all right there in our brains.
When we begin to light up both of these sides equally, then we can have our cake and eat it too. Our rationality and our beautiful analytical human selves are informed by our brilliantly creative, sensitive, spiritual selves, and then we really have something to take to the party. And, as the different parts of our brains begin to integrate, and the split-off parts of ourselves, the shadow parts, also begin to integrate―as we bring them into our awareness, let them express themselves, and release―then tremendous energy from the shadow becomes available to us for transmutation.
When I was first using brain entrainment technology, feeling pretty much isolated, I used to think, “Wow! Is it just me or does this stuff really work like this for everyone?” That’s one of the things about creativity; you create what you would like to experience.
Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on August 1, 2012.
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John Dupuy is the CEO of iAwake Technologies and the founder of Integral Recovery, a holistic addiction treatment approach inspired by Ken Wilber’s Integral Model. He is also the author of Integral Recovery: A Revolutionary Approach to Alcoholism and Addiction, recently published by SUNY Press. As a pioneer in the use of brainwave entrainment in therapy and personal development, John has dedicated his life to helping others deepen their spiritual practice and transform their lives.
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