There are some things about creativity that have been on my mind.  I have been trying to hone in on the qualitative experience of the creative moment… what does it feel like to be creative?  What kinds of qualities distinguish the feeling of being creative from other types of feelings, like the feeling of ‘producing’, ‘innovating’, and so forth?  What makes a creative moment creative?

It seems to me that in the experience of the creative moment, there is always a place where knowing runs out… where consciousness finds itself in a state of openness, as if surrounded by space.  In particular this feeling seems to be accompanied by the sense that the normal boundaries of the ego are loosened, expanded/expended, but not yet replaced or filled with anything.  This is specifically true with respect to the actual genesis of the creative activity, while during the activity this sense can be replaced with a feeling which Mihály Csíkszentmihályi called ‘flow’.

In every case that I can think of (for myself, that is), creative moments are states of being characterizable by a sense of potential, of a sort of future-coming-into-the-present — but notably always without knowledge or specific anticipation.  It is a very hard state to even think about because it seems that thinking itself — at least in the normal, ego-centered thinking of much of daily life — is suspended, as if in the air.  And even in thinking ‘about’ the creative moment, there is almost a lacuna of consciousness around the creative moment itself, as if consciousness met a border that it could not cross with its normal configuration… so I have the feeling that it is as if some part of consciousness travels ‘underground’ or perhaps ‘above’, into the ‘sense of awaiting’ that permeates the surrounding ‘space’.

You can see that the normal tendencies of speech have a hard time when applied to a moment which seems to transcend encapsulation.  One usage of languge serves to delineate, define, demarcate, depict, circumscribe, form, or otherwise pinpoint (alchemically this would be representative of the Earth element).  My initial questions are, in a sense, Earth questions, with language leading towards and assuming this Earthy aspect.  Yet by its very nature the object of the inquiry is perhaps unable to be Earthed – so I find a contradiction even in the asking of the question.  Thus a paradox: if it were possible to actually describe in words the qualitative essence of a creative moment, the creative moment itself would necessarily remain undescribed, even de-described.

Therefore some questions:

Is language as evocative rather than descriptive enough of a tool to allow thinking about creativity to proceed?

Do all creative moments share some specific qualities, perhaps at a meta or meta-meta-level?  Or is it impossible for creative moments to be bound at all by any possibile prescription?

With respect to the individual experiencing a creative moment, what kinds of processes occur qua the experienced sense of self/other?  That is, what happens to the sense of self in such a moment?

Related: Are creative moments ever something that can be ‘mine’ in the same way that I can speak about (a perhaps naive) experience of ‘my’ pain, ‘my’ thoughts, and so forth?

Also related: To what extent do ‘others’ play a role in creative moments that ‘I’ experience?

Lastly: If we were seers, able to perceive the activities of the spiritual worlds, how would we describe what is experienced by a single human being in a creative moment?

Newton's Third Law

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  1. Seth, Francie here. I'm lost in these fantastic pieces you have done here, to the tune of not getting my alchemy paper done. Creativity as an aspect of consciousness is at the top of the list of areas of interest and probable dissertation–connected to some of the quantum stuff (my definition of consciousness might also be called Soul/bigSelf/Divine Presence, not "mind awareness"). Anyway, I'd like to answer your questions above.

    1. No language dead ends when it comes to describing the actual process of creativity, just as it does for most topics in the transpersonal, transcendent realm :)

    2. In my phenomenological study of "writing a poem", it seems that I could name a few aspects of the phenomena of the creative process, and at the same time would not pretend to think I could sum it up. The dazzling mystery of creativity in humans evokes a muse, about musing! Anyway, you named several things that I will re-state or add to:
    The creative process:

    Requires that we enter into present-time awareness. Since, from a physics standpoint, present time is all there is, we don't have much access to creative realms while worrying about a future event, even about a creative "product" and certainly not while reflecting on the past. The process occurs, as we land ourselves in the moment.

    After an initiating thought, or desire to create something specific (painting versus poem), the desire itself becomes a beckoning process…beckoning what? I think of it as beckoning the creative 'product' (words failing…by product I mean the language of the poem, or colors of a painting, the idea). Next, surrender is required. Surrender of ego attachment to product, of when and how inspiration/actual 'product'/ideas come in, surrender to what the message, purpose or ultimate plan is supposed to be.

    It's like we yearn to create something, or feel inspired to, then we send the intention out (into "inner space"), clear our mind, get in present time, open our minds (impossible to describe in language!), surrender while hosting the intention…

    Then it seems a veil that normally separates our daily, thinking mind from the "realm" of the inner cosmos where unspeakable levels of creativity exists–the veil opens. I think of this as an act of synchronicity.
    In this type of synchronicity, we gain in a flash, and then a series of flashes, lightening bolt like fusing of a creative solution/product which crosses the barrier to our conscious brain, illuminating it. We leave our 3 dimensional 'reality' and have access to an experience of a dimensionless flow of a deeply fulfilling nature.

    As such, I imagine that this process as completely spiritual. We implode Divinity, Cosmic Consciousness, Creatrix, God…call it what you will. I do imagine all of this as a dynamic flow, in the same way electrons, nature, everything..is…

    In terms of other's relationship to our creativity…look at what is happening with you and I right now. You created this site and inspired me, and I will reverberate into others, inspiring, stirring, awakening creative processes lying in wait. All of these sites you have created are inspiring others like the rings expanding from a pebble dropped in waters of the unconscious, rippling into the collective consciousness. Birth occurs.

    The merging of beings in a creative endeavor is one of the highest honors we have as humans. The ecstasy, the intimacy, the absolute LOSS OF EGO (yes, you asked that), where fusion between beings sets off brand new sparks of creative light coming across the veil. With many people together, perhaps the "veil" simply lifts, like a stage curtain…allowing a suspended, sustained access to the Divine. Here is an example where the sum of the parts is so far beyond the actual sum–its why we came.

  2. Wow, Francie, thanks for your wonderful comments!
    I can't wait to see your dissertation… :D

  3. Hi to you both.
    Some really great writing, it speaks true to a lot of the things i’m pondering at the moment
    I am writing a dissertation as we speak and I was wondering if you had any sources from which you can back up what your saying about the creative moment and its connection to a spiritual conscious?
    Annoyingly with dissertation you can’t just put your own ideas ti all has to be done through someone else.
    Would be grateful for any help.
    Thanks

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