Friday, 8 March 2013


Who or what are we ? We assume many roles in life, go through many stages, from childhood to old age, identify ourselves with either the body or the mind, activities, hobbies, emotions, ideas, careers, occupations . . . So what or who are we really?  If you add nationality, religion, caste, creed, then the list expands further! Are we all split personalities, then ?
We are selves within selves and identities within identities, and none of them are true, for none of them are permanent, if you look carefully. Then what is it that we could hold onto in this changing world and within these changing selves ? The standard answer would be : my soul. But then I have not seen it. So how do I contact it ?
There is a way. For, there is within me, the heart, the spiritual aspect of my being, the doorway to the soul. When we feel intense emotion, it is the heart that reacts -- either bursting with joy or contracting in pain. Even an atheist feels this. When someone asks us a personal question, and our answer begins with "I", see where your thumb points to: that is the location of your spiritual heart !! (Sree Ramana Maharshi said this) Notice that you do not point to the head or the feet. "I" is located in the heart, and that is where the journey to Self begins.


I believe firmly that within each one of us, there is a creative person, and it is this persona (the actual being of someone, the individual personality; Source: The Oxford Latin Dictionary) that is closest to our SELF. Some have been able to express their creativity by coming into contact with this creative persona, others are yet to; it is a matter of time and of course, a willingness to participate in the CREATIVE PROCESS. So what constitutes the 'creative process' ? How does one embark on this journey? 

The creative process is not different from the process of life !! It is from life itself that this creative identity is born. I know many of you might be thinking of all the Art classes and Writing workshops, Singing lessons and Photography sessions you may or may not have attended. There we are talking about creative 'technique'. You can learn technique from experts and this certainly helps but technique is a frame-work. What are you going to fill the frame with ? The CONTENT is what makes you unique. Content comes from what your life is and what you have understood about it. Your art is your interpretation and understanding about life. Creativity, thus is born out of life experience. That is why a great painter has so many forgers imitating his paintings. A forgery, however perfect cannot be as valuable as the original because it does not have the stamp of genuine experience. (Always wondered about this, have the answer now :0 )

Creativity is essentially our response to life. It is an attitude of embracing life, without defences and at the same time, not losing our sense of integrity. Without this twin attitude of openness and holding on to basic values, one cannot create. Why?
Those who write will be familiar with the blank-page-syndrome! When faced with the task of writing something from scratch, you stare at the blank paper in front of you and you keep staring. You may re-arrange your desk, change your pen/font, play with your dog, go for a walk or take a nap, but the page just stares back at you ! Two reasons for this:
The words do not come from the mind. Words are the vehicle carrying an idea and ideas are born in the furnace of the heart. Experience when distilled and condensed, gives birth to an idea. This happens not because of the mind, but when the mind 'allows' this process by taking a back seat. There is a higher intelligence working in us, whose seat is the heart and it is this 'higher intelligence' (called buddhi/intellect) that organises experience and gives it a meaning. This is the creative persona. Once this becomes active, then the words or the painting or the music FLOWS through different faculties and gets expressed.

The second obstacle is again from the mind. Even when an idea begins to flow and you start painting or writing or anything else that you feel expresses who you are, the mind begins to JUDGE. It is a self-appointed critic, the twin brother of the ego. When judgement begins, the idea that had shyly peeped out of the heart runs back inside, unless you just tell the mind to lay off. 
The mind is like the middle-man, a necessary evil! Why is the mind such an obstacle, when it is in fact, such an important component of the human being. The answer lies in the fact that the 'creative persona' puts us in touch with our true selves. When we distil meaning out of the experiences of our lives, we are shedding illusions and coming closer to the Truth.  The ego does not like this. The ego/false sense of self thrives in illusion and it acts through the mind. It therefore does everything possible for Truth to remain hidden.
Notice how when you embark on a creative adventure, all kinds of obstacles raise their heads. Don't give up, you are on the right track !
In conclusion, if you want to create, let the mind be in 'suspended animation' and allow the heart full reign.

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