A mystic’s insight on creativity
The essence of what I have been trying to do is to get millions of people to really pay attention without intention. If people can do this one thing, multi-dimensional creativity is very much possible
If you look at human beings, no one has horns, an extra arm, or three eyes-everything is the same, but everything is different. This is creativity. If you want to describe the characteristics of human beings in simple terms, everyone has two legs, two hands, one nose, two eyes, and so on. But just see what a unique happening each one of them is in every way. This is the nature of creation.
Anything you create, whether it is a piece of jewellery or clothing, a building, or whatever else, in any form and colour, already exists somewhere in nature.
No human being should ever think that we are creating something. In some way, knowingly or unknowingly, we are reproducing a few things from the impressions we have taken in. No one can really create anything new here.
You have taken in so many impressions, not all of them consciously. Some of these forms and colours and shapes that are there in your mind may find unconscious expression. In this context, when someone says the ashram is beautiful-I did not make the mountains, and that is the most beautiful part of the ashram. They are setting a background, though most people may not notice it.
Once it happened, Shankaran Pillai came to the Isha Yoga Center, and he wanted a room with a view. We gave an appropriate room in the Chitra block. Then he complained, reiterating, “I wanted a room with a view.”
We said, “This is the room that has the best view.”
He said, “The goddamn mountains are in the way.”
This is what has happened to a lot of human beings. They do not see things as they are. Instead, they have ideas. If you want to make something beautiful, the first thing is you should not have any idea. An idea need not necessarily have anything to do with reality. If instead of having an idea, you have a perception, and you simply drink life all the time, if you want to create something or you want to make something happen, it will all be with you-in terms of shapes, forms, colours, sounds, or whatever else. Whether you want to create music, clothing, or a building, if you pay enough attention, it will all be there.
Is creativity inborn or can it be nurtured?
What we are looking at as creativity is essentially coming from the keenness of attention. Certain people are very attentive to words and meanings, so they bounce back certain things. Certain people are very attentive to forms and colours; they will find expression in a different way. Certain people are very attentive to sounds; they may be able to produce music very effortlessly. How keen and profound your attention is reflected in you in some way.
The essence of what I have been trying to do is to get millions of people to really pay attention without intention. If people can do this one thing, multi-dimensional creativity is very much possible. It is not that they have to practice. What is lacking in human beings is attention.
What is taking away human attention is simply their own cerebral activity. People do not know how to handle their memory and their attention separately. Their memory always floods into their attention and clouds it all the time. People may call this clouding of the memory, thought or emotion but it is essentially the accumulated memory, which interferes with one’s attention. Otherwise, it is very natural for you to be attentive. When you are awake, you are attentive, how else can you be? It is only because memory seeps into every aspect.
This is the fundamental work that I have always been trying to do that people should be able to separate their memory, attention, and imagination. Imagination is not a problem, because imagination is an extrapolation of one’s memory in many different ways. All the animals have very keen attention, but they do not have a vivid sense of memory like us. Instead of using this memory as a phenomenal capability, most people use this to cause misery to themselves. Most of the time human beings are suffering what happened ten years ago, and they may be also suffering what may happen the day after tomorrow.
Animals have their struggles, but they are not suffering their memory, they are suffering life. Human beings are just suffering from memory most of the time.