Creativity

I  BELIEVED  I WAS UNCREATIVE. WHAT ELSE CAN BE CREATIVITY BESIDES DANCING AND PAINTING AND HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT MY CREATIVITY IS?

CREATIVITY  has nothing  to do with any  activity in particular  — with painting, poetry, dancing,  singing. It has nothing to do with  anything in particular.

Anything  can be creative  — you bring that  quality to the activity.  Activity itself is neither creative nor  uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative  way. You can sing in an uncreative way. You  can clean the floor in a creative way. You can  cook in a creative way.

Creativity  is the quality  that you bring to  the activity you are  doing. It is an attitude,  an inner approach — how you  look at things.

So  the first  thing to be  remembered: don’t  confine creativity to  anything in particular.  A man is creative — and  if he is creative, whatsoever  he does, even if he walks, you  can see in his walking there is creativity.  Even if he sits silently and does nothing, even  non-doing will be a creative act. Buddha sitting under  the Bodhi Tree doing nothing is the greatest creator the  world has ever known.

Once  you understand  it — that it is  you, the person, who  is creative or uncreative  — then this problem disappears.

Not  everybody  can be a painter  — and there is no  need also. If everybody  is a painter the world will  be very ugly; it will be difficult  to live. And not everybody can be a  dancer, and there is no need. But everybody  can be creative.

Whatsoever  you do, if  you do it joyfully,  if you do it lovingly,  if your act of doing it  is not purely economical, then  it is creative. If you have something  growing out of it within you, if it gives  you growth, it is spiritual, it is creative,  it is divine.

You  become  more divine  as you become  more creative. all  the religions of the  world have said: God is  the Creator. I don’t know  whether He is the Creator or  not, but one thing I know: the  more creative you become, the more  godly you become. When your creativity  comes to a climax, when your whole life  becomes creative, you live in God. So He must  be the Creator because people who have been creative  have been closest to Him. Love what you do. Be meditative  while you are doing it — whatsoever it is! Irrelevant of the  fact of what it is.

Have  you seen  Paras cleaning  this floor of Chuang  Tzu auditorium? Then you  will know: cleaning can become  creative. With what love! Almost  singing and dancing inside. If you clean  the floor with such love, you have done an  invisible painting. You lived that moment in such  delight that it has given you some inner growth. You  cannot be the same after a creative act.

Creativity  means loving  whatsoever you  do — enjoying,  celebrating it, as  a gift of God! Maybe  nobody comes to know about  it. Who is going to praise Paras  for cleaning this floor? History will  not take any account of it; newspapers  will not publish her name and pictures —  but that is irrelevant. She enjoyed it. The  value is intrinsic.

So  if you  are looking  for fame and  then you think  you are creative  — if you become famous  like Picasso, then you are  creative — then you will miss.  Then you are, in fact, not creative  at all: you are a politician, ambitious.  If fame happens, good. If it doesn’t happen, good.  It should not be the consideration. The consideration  should be that you are enjoying whatsoever you are doing.  It is your love-affair.

If  your  act is  your love-affair,  then it becomes creative.  Small things become great by  the touch of love and delight.

The  questioner  asks: “I believed  I was uncreative.” If  you believe in that way,  you will become uncreative —  because belief is not just belief.  It opens doors; it closes doors. If you  have a wrong belief, then that will hang  around you as a closed door. If you believe that  you are uncreative, you will become uncreative — because  that belief will obstruct, continuously negate, all possibilities  of flowing. It will not allow your energy to flow because you will  continuously say: “I am uncreative.”

This  has been  taught to everybody.  Very few people are accepted  as creative: A few painters, a  few poets — one in a million.  This is foolish! Every human being  is a born creator. Watch children and  you will see: all children are creative.  By and by, we destroy their creativity. By  and by, we force wrong beliefs on them. By  and by, we distract them. By and by, we make them  more and more economical and political and ambitious. When  ambition enters, creativity disappears — because an ambitious  man cannot be creative, because an ambitious man cannot love any  activity for its own sake. While he is painting he is looking ahead;  he is thinking, ‘When am I going to get a Nobel Prize?’ When he is writing  a novel, he is looking ahead. He is always in the future — and a creative person  is always in the present.

We destroy  creativity. Nobody  is born uncreative,  but we make ninety-nine  percent of people uncreative.

But  just throwing  the responsibility  on the society is not  going to help — you have  to take your life in your own  hands. You have to drop wrong conditionings.  You have to drop wrong, hypnotic auto-suggestions  that have been given to you in your childhood. Drop them!  Purify yourself of all conditionings… and suddenly you will  see you are creative.

To  be and  to be creative  are synonymous. It  is impossible to be  and not to be creative. But  that impossible thing has happened,  that ugly phenomenon has happened, because  all your creative sources have been plugged,  blocked, destroyed, and your whole energy has been  forced into some activity that the society thinks is  going to pay.

Our  whole  attitude  about life  is money-oriented.  And money is one of  the most uncreative things  one can become interested in.  Our whole approach is power-oriented and  power is destructive, not creative. A man  who is after money will become destructive, because  money has to be robbed, exploited; it has to be taken  away from many people, only then can you have it. Power simply  means you have to make many people impotent, you have to destroy  them — only then will you be powerful, can you be powerful.

Remember:  these are destructive  acts. A creative act enhances  the beauty of the world; it gives  something to the world, it never takes  anything from it. A creative person comes into  the world, enhances the beauty of the world —  a song here, a painting there. He makes the world  dance better, enjoy better, love better, meditate better.  When he leaves this world, he leaves a better world behind  him. Nobody may know him; somebody may know him — that is not  the point. But he leaves the world a better world, tremendously fulfilled  because his life has been of some intrinsic value.

Money,  power, prestige,  are uncreative; not  only uncreative, but destructive  activities. Beware of them! And if  you beware of them you can become creative  very easily. I am not saying that your creativity  is going to give you power, prestige, money. No, I  cannot promise you any rose -gardens. It may give you trouble.  It may force you to live a poor man’s life. All that I can promise  you is that deep inside you will be the richest man possible; deep inside  you will be fulfilled; deep inside you will be full of joy and celebration.  You will be continuously receiving more and more blessings from God. Your life  will be a life of benediction.

But  it is  possible  that outwardly  you may not be  famous, you may not  have money, you may not  succeed in the so-called world.  But to succeed in this so-called  world is to fail deeply, is to fail  in the inside world. And what are you  going to do with the whole world at your  feet if you have lost your own self? What  will you do if you possess the whole world and  you don’t possess yourself? A creative person possesses  his own being; he is a master.

That’s  why in the  East we have  been calling sannyasins  ‘swamis’. ‘Swami’ means a master.  Beggars have been called swamis —  masters. Emperors we have known, but  they proved in the final account, in the  final conclusion of their lives, that they  were beggars. A man who is after money and power  and prestige is a beggar, because he continuously begs.  He has nothing to give to the world.

Be  a giver.  Share whatsoever  you can! And remember,  I am not making any distinction between.  small things and great things. If you can  smile whole-heartedly, hold somebody’s hand and  smile, then it is a creative act, a great creative  act. Just embrace somebody to your heart and you are creative.  Just look with loving eyes at somebody… just a loving look can  change the whole world of a person.

Be  creative.  Don’t be worried  about what you are  doing — one has to  do many things — but do  everything creatively, with devotion.  Then your work becomes worship. Then whatsoever  you do is a prayer. And whatsoever you do is an  offering at the altar.

Drop  this belief  that you are  uncreative. I know  how this belief is created:  you may not have been a gold  medalist in the university; you  may not have been top in your class; your  painting may not have won appreciation; when  you play on your flute, neighbors report to the  police. Maybe — but just because of these things,  don’t get the wrong belief that you are uncreative. That  may be because you are imitating others.

People  have a very  limited idea of  what being creative  is — playing the guitar  or the flute or writing poetry  — so people go on writing rubbish  in the name of poetry. You have to find  out what you can do and what you cannot do.  Everybody cannot do everything! You have to search  and find your destiny. You have to grope in the dark,  I know. It is not very clear-cut what your destiny is —  but that’s how life is. And it is good that one has to search  for it — in the very search, something grows.

If  God were  to give a  chart of your  life to you when  you were entering into  the world — this will be  your life: you are going to  become a guitarist — then your  life would be mechanical. Only a machine  can be predicted, not a man. Man is unpredictable.  Man is always an opening… a potentiality for a thousand  and one things. Many doors open and many alternatives are always  present at each step — and you have to choose, you have to feel.  But if you love your life you will be able to find.

If  you DON’T  love your life  and you love something  else, then there is a problem.  If you love money and you want to  be creative, you cannot become creative.  The very ambition for money is going to destroy  your creativity. If you want fame, then forget about creativity.  Fame comes easier if you are destructive. Fame comes easier to an  Adolf Hitler; fame comes easier to a Henry Ford. Fame is easier if you  are competitive, violently competitive. If you can kill and destroy people,  fame comes easier.

The  whole  history  is the history  of murderers. If  you become a murderer,  fame will be very easy. You  can become a prime minister; you  can become a president — but these  are all masks. Behind them you will find  very violent people, terribly violent people  hiding, smiling. Those smiles are political, diplomatic.  If the mask slips, you will always see Genghis Khan, Timur  Leng, Nadir Shah, Napoleon, Alexander, Hitler, hiding behind. If  you want fame, don’t talk about creativity. I am not saying that  fame never comes to a creative person, but very rarely it comes, very  rarely. It is more like an accident, and it takes much time. Almost always  it happens that by the time fame comes to a creative person, he is gone —  it is always posthumous; it is very delayed.

Jesus  was not  famous in  his day. If  there were no  Bible, there would  have been no record of  him. The record belongs to  his four disciples; nobody else  has ever mentioned him, whether he  existed or not. He was not famous.  He was not successful. Can you think  of a greater failure than Jesus? But, by  and by, he became more and more significant;  by and by, people recognized him. It takes time.

The  greater  a person  is, the more  time it takes for  people to recognize him  — because when a great person  is born, there are no criteria to  judge him by, there are no maps to find  him with. He has to create his own values;  by the time he has created the values, he is  gone. It takes thousands of years for a creative  person to be recognized, and then too it is not certain.  There have been many creative people who have never been recognized.  It is accidental for a creative person to be successful. For an uncreative,  destructive person it is more certain.

So  if you  are seeking  something else  in the name of  creativity, then drop  the idea of being creative.  At least consciously, deliberately,  do whatsoever you want to do. Never  hide behind masks. If you really want to  be creative, then there is no question of  money, success, prestige, respectability — then  you enjoy your activity; then each act has an intrinsic  value. You dance because you like dancing; you dance because  you delight in it. If somebody appreciates, good, you feel grateful.  If nobody appreciates, it is none of your business to be worried about  it. You danced, you enjoyed — you are already fulfilled. But this belief  of being uncreative can be dangerous — drop it! Nobody is uncreative — not  even trees, not even rocks. People who have known trees and loved trees, know  that each tree creates its own space, each rock creates its own space. It is like  nobody else’s space. If you become sensitive, if you become capable of understanding, through empathy,  you will be tremendously benefited. You will see each tree is creative in its own way; no other tree  is like that — each tree is unique; each tree has individuality, each rock has individuality. Trees are  not just trees — they are people. Rocks are not just rocks — they are people. Go and sit by the side  of a rock — watch it lovingly, touch it lovingly, feel it lovingly.

It  is said  about a Zen  master that he  was able to pull  very big rocks, remove  very big rocks — and he  was a very fragile man. It  was almost impossible looking at  his physiology! Stronger men, very much  stronger than him, were unable to pull those  rocks, and he would simply pull them very easily.

He  was asked  what his trick  was. He said, “There  is no trick — I love  the rocks so the rock helps.  First I say to her, ‘Now my  prestige is in your hands, and  these people have come to watch. Now  help me, cooperate with me.’ Mm? — then  I simply hold the rock lovingly… and wait  for the hint. When the rock gives me the hint  — it is a shudder, my whole spine starts vibrating  — when the rock gives me the hint that she is ready,  then I move. You move against the rock; that’s why so much  energy is needed. I move with the rock, I flow with the rock.  In fact, it is wrong to say that I remove it — I am simply there. The  rock removes itself.”

One  great  Zen master  was a carpenter,  and whenever he made  tables, chairs, somehow they  had some ineffable quality in  them, a tremendous magnetism. He  was asked, “How do you make them?”

He  said,  “I don’t  make them.  I simply go  to the forest:  the basic thing is  to enquire of the forest,  of trees, which tree is ready  to become a chair.”

Now these  things look  absurd — because  we don’t know, we don’t  know the language. For three  days he would remain in the forest.  He would sit under one tree, under another  tree, and he would talk to trees — and he was  a mad man! But a tree is to be judged by its fruit, and  this master has also to be judged by his creation. A few of  his chairs still survive in China — they still carry a magnetism.  You will just be simply attracted; you will not know what is pulling  you. After a thousand years! — something tremendously beautiful. He said,  “I go and I say that I am in search of a tree who wants to become a chair.  I ask the trees if they are willing; not only willing: cooperating with me, ready  to go with me — only then. Sometimes it happens that no tree is ready to become a  chair — I come empty handed.”

It  happened:  The Emperor  of China asked  him to make him  a stand for his books.  And he went and after three  days he said, “Wait — no tree  is ready to come to the palace.” After  three months the Emperor again enquired. The  carpenter said, “I have been going continuously.  I am persuading. Wait — one tree seems to be leaning  a little bit.”

Then  he persuaded  one tree. He said,  “The whole art is there!  — when the tree comes of its  own accord. Then she is simply asking  the help of the carpenter.”

You  can go  and ask Asheesh  — he has a feel  for wood, and wood also  has a feel for him. If you  are loving you will see that  the whole existence has individuality.  Don’t pull and push things. Watch, communicate;  take their help — and much energy will be preserved. Even  trees are creative, rocks are creative. You are man: the very  culmination of this existence. You are at the top — you are conscious.  Never think with wrong beliefs, and never be attached to wrong beliefs, that  you are uncreative. Maybe your father said to you that you are uncreative, your  colleagues said to you that you are uncreative. Maybe you were searching in wrong  directions, in directions in which you are not creative, but there must be a direction  in which you are creative. Seek and search and remain available, and go on groping — unless  you find it.

Each  man comes  into this world  with a specific destiny  — he has something to fulfill, some  message has to be delivered, some work  has to be completed. You are not here accidentally  — you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind  you. The Whole intends to do something through you.

Excerpted From A Sudden  Clash Of Thunder CH: 4

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