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Barbara Bowen : Creativity and Spirituality

Creativity and Spirituality

By Barbara Bowen

The Creative Process is the fundamental dynamic of all innovation in every field and discipline. It can be expressed for good or ill, but this essay chooses to place focus on its positive values and connection to spirituality.

Creativity is often misunderstood to be an act of the ego and intellect. In truth, the Creative Process is fundamentally a spiritual one. When the imagination is in flight, we are moved to give form to this inner life. Creating charges us with energy. We are grounded in our bodies, yet the creative act takes us beyond ourselves. We exit the world of reacting and enter the delicious world of creating, where we lose track of time. By acting, we bring spirit into matter. By acting, we love our creations into being. And Creativity is vital for well-being, not just for artists and arts professionals, but for everyone, in their own way. When we engage our Creativity, we engage our spirituality.

"A fish is born to swim, a bird is born to fly, and a human is born to create." I'm not sure where that quote comes from. But it's a great one, cutting to our essence. In an early Gnostic Christian Gospel, Jesus states: "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." "Destroy" is a dramatic word, and is probably meant more figuratively than literally. But if we are not expressing our inborn Creative gifts, we feel loss and pain that may cause us minor to serious trouble. Our hearts will surely hurt, to one degree or another.

Julia Cameron, an author who designs wonderful tools for unleashing Creativity, makes the observation that Creativity is a heart-centered pursuit. She noticed that embedded in the word "heart" is the word "art." Also embedded there is the word "ear." Many spiritual traditions involve the art of listening to the heart. So, when we express our Creativity from a heart-centered place, we are practicing our spirituality. While in the Creative state, we become grounded and in touch with both the core of our individual essence and the universal "ocean" of Creativity. This is not to say that the Creative Process always feels good. Added to the recipe are various amounts of fear, resistance and anxiety. We often need to pass through a threshold of discomfort in order to create what is calling to be created.

Creativity is inherently connected with spirituality. Along the creative path we confront many aspects of ourselves, and meet many opportunities for growth. On this road, we face attitudes and behaviors affecting our Creativity. We learn to change perceptions, overcome obstacles, stay in touch with our bodies, identify and listen to our intuition, and to gain more insight and trust in our path as a creative and spiritual being.

When we are creating from what arises in the heart, we are in touch with animating power. When we are present and living in connection with the moment, the portal between the inner life and the deeper universal well opens. While deeply and Creatively engaged in our present, we are simultaneously creating our future. •

© 2003 Barbara Bowen

Barbara BowenBarbara Bowen owns Gateways Coaching and helps artists and other professionals to master the creative process, build momentum, and take sensible risks to move careers to the next level. More »

6/13/05