This short video features three 20-second highlights from my January 14 talk about Deep Creativity at the Santa Fe Center for Spiritual Living. You can watch the talk in its entirety here:
In last week's interview on UK's Freedom Talk Radio, I described an important spiritual realization that it took my parents 65 years to discover. At a point when my father is reaching the end of his life, my mother came to this insight that has already changed their lives in significant positive ways. I am confident that the same realization can have a similarly profound impact on your life. To find out what it is, please listen to this two-minute excerpt.
You can also listen to the entire 1-hour-20-minute interview below. The interview covers many topics near and dear to me, including Deep Creativity, Global Chant, The Pledge, and WAVE1.
Every artist knows what it feels likes to stare at a blank canvas, screen, or notebook, waiting for that moment of clarity when new ideas begin to flow freely. The experience can seem lonely and frustrating. In that silence, we find ourselves face-to-face with our own limitations; fear and self-doubt may creep into our hearts. We wonder if and when creative inspiration will ever come. If we depend on creativity for our livelihood, deadlines and financial pressures will add to the tension and discomfort that we are already feeling. We have been depending on a stream of creativity that seems to have run dry. Worst of all, we have no way of knowing why it has stopped flowing or if the flood of creativity we once knew will ever be restored. What was once a raging river has been reduced to a trickle. We call this experience a creative block.
I want to let you in on a little secret about such blocks: They have no basis in reality. Yes, the feelings and sensation are real. In no way do I mean to dismiss an experience that can be absolutely excruciating. The only reason I can write about it is that I have been there in the past. But I stopped experiencing creative blocks the moment I came to the realization that they don’t really exist.
If creative blocks aren’t real, then what exactly is going on at such moments? Everything we feel arises from the fact that we are trying to force something that can never be forced. Creativity is a form of grace—a gift from a mysterious source that comes into our lives spontaneously and often unexpectedly. The sensation of being in the flow of fresh ideas, images, and insights is nothing short of delightful. We must celebrate this abundance when it arrives but never, ever come to expect it or take it for granted in any way.
I love the fact that there is no button we can push or switch we can flip to bring about creative inspiration. The act of creating does not follow simple formulas; if it did, we would find it far less compelling. Creativity is an honor. To experience it is to know true splendor. When I write, there are moments when the words appearing on my computer screen touch my heart at the deepest level and elevate me to the heavens. I feel great humility in the face of such awesome creative power flowing through me. Grace of this magnitude is a privilege, and my first reaction is always to say to the universe: "Thank you. Thank you….More please?"
Grace comes to the graceful—and the grateful. Open yourself to the flow of creativity with no attachment or expectation. As with any feast, the act of creating should begin by saying some form of Grace: “Thank you, Creator, for what we are about to receive.” The exact words do not matter--only the attitude of gratitude. It is important to remember that grace comes most easily to those who can share it with an open heart. So, make sure to give some of it away.
We live in a society that treats creativity as a commodity rather than a gift. As a result, we may be tempted to clutch onto every little creative morsel that comes our way. We fight to protect our “intellectual property,” guarding it against even the slightest intrusion. But what if we just gave it all away, without a shred of concern for ourselves?
I can imagine what you are thinking: What about those of us who make a living off our creativity? How are we supposed to feed ourselves and pay our bills? We can’t just give away the products of our creativity. That is so unrealistic! And of course, I understand the predicament faced by anyone who aspires to pursue creativity as a profession. If you have bosses, patrons, customers and dependents relying on your creativity, you will feel pressure to produce. And out of such intense and overwhelming pressure, the creative block is born.
In Deep Creativity, I focus on the process rather than the product. That is because all great art emerges from great experience. I define creativity in terms of an experience that has two basic qualities: freshness and transcendence. Creativity flows when we are immersed most fully in that experience. Anything that pulls us out of it, such as financial concerns or time pressure, will interfere with the flow. When you create, empty your mind of all distractions, open yourself up to the flow of grace, and celebrate the privilege of being able to take part in this extraordinary dance of creation. In the weeks ahead, I will offer specific strategies for doing just that!
In my last blog, I discussed a set of radical changes that I foresee taking shape in 2018. These include more cooperation among the nations of the world, the emergence of a new generation of leaders, and the reshaping of the global economy. I ended with a promise that I would address the question: How do we get there from here? Now, I plan to deliver on this promise.
Clearly, a large percentage of the world’s population has to believe that such changes are not only possible but also worthwhile. This means finding common ground among billions of people who are separated by geography, language, culture, religion, and politics. At a time when our own country is divided on a number of basic issues, we might jump to the conclusion that global unity is impossible. Even if humanity could agree on something, how would we ever know?
Here is where technology plays a key role. The organizers of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2010 used cell phones to mobilize millions of people. Although these uprisings met with only limited success, they captured the imagination of the world. Now we know that mobile technology can be an important tool for resistance movements on a massive scale.
Today, there are at least 6.8 billion cell phones in use—nearly one per person. Such widespread distribution allows human beings to do things that were never possible until now. For example, we can perform a global survey, finding out how the people of the world feel about issues affecting us all, such as climate change or the distribution of wealth. This is one of the most exciting developments in human history. For the first time ever, we have the capability of discovering what the world wants and needs!
Then there is the question of mobilization. Change will come only through concerted action involving billions of people. This requires an interweaving of high tech and high touch. Global leaders must rise to the challenge, finding ways to inspire others with their ideas, words, and actions. Such leaders will be able to communicate with others through the use of sophisticated mobile applications, which will allow them to send and receive encrypted messages instantly in any language. With the click of a button, calls to action can be delivered to every corner of the world.
Virtually every nation is operating within a social, political, and economic structure that has become severely broken in potentially cataclysmic ways. This structure needs to be replaced with something far more productive: a system that promotes peace, sustainability and balance worldwide. There is only one way to accomplish this end: a global movement of resistance and non-compliance with the status quo. Technology is going to facilitate this dramatic transition in ways that we may not even be able to imagine just yet. Soon, we will discover that cell phones are not just convenient; they are revolutionary!
Welcome to 2018! This is an important year. Many people are sensing that big changes are coming—myself included. I foresee this year as a turning point. Humanity will take important steps in 2018 towards the establishment of an exciting new era. Before the end of this century, the Earth will enter an age of peace, sustainability and balance. Many of the world’s great wisdom traditions have anticipated such an age. One way or another, it’s coming.
In keeping with the spirit of this shift, I offer my intentions for the New Year. These may seem like a pipe dream to you, but they are much closer to being attained than you might imagine. If each of us holds these intentions in our hearts, we can bring them to fruition. “A dream you dream alone is only a dream,” said John Lennon. “A dream you dream together is reality.”
So, here is my list of global intentions for 2018:
I want to hear from you! Please share your questions and comments. And sign up for my newsletter, where I will pass along the insights, ideas, and inspiration that come my way.