Thoughts on Creativity

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. ~ Carl Jung

Last March, out of the dreams, I picked up a paint brush and started painting for the first time. I had no idea that I had anything to paint or even knew how. It was suggested to me through the dream work and the encouragement of my therapist, that I might try this as a way of processing some of the feelings that were coming up for me in the work.

It started like this:

1/7/11 DREAM: I am working on a painting. It is half way done and was completed by me, but now I seem to not know how to paint anymore. I keep trying to apply the brush but I can’t make it work. I see the finished parts of the painting and it is intricate and beautiful. I know that I am going to mess it up. I become very upset and frustrated.

A month later I had this dream:

2/3/11 DREAM: I am in a studio with [the Anima] and she is teaching me to paint. We are working on a painting that is mostly done and she suggests that I work on an area of the painting’s sky where the white has dried with some pin holes. She hands me a brush and I put some paint on it. But I put too much and as I move the brush over the painting some drips into the mountains. She is laughing and telling me to slow down and that I shouldn’t put so much paint on the brush. I am like “oops” and am laughing too. I feel very close to her like she really cares about me and won’t get mad at me. Like she has all the time in the world for me and it doesn’t matter if I make a mistake.


In early March, I had the "Elvis" dream from my earlier post. My therapist suggested that I draw or paint as part of my homework around this and suggested specifically that I paint something from the dream. I chose The Worm. It is a crude drawing, but literal in it's execution. My therapist continued to encourage this form of expression as part of my work.

I think about this new found creativity in me as a gift of the dreamwork; something unexpected and deeply moving for me. As I look at the first dream above that I had about painting, I realize that this is something that I must have known at one time, something that was already there that I am remembering. In the second dream, I am being taught by the Anima. She loves me and has all the time in the world for me.

I am awakening, remembering. Or, perhaps it is something gleaned from the collective consciousness that Jung refers to. A place that exists outside time and space as we know it, where all the information of the history and experiences of our species and others resides. It stands to reason, then, that this creativity can be tapped by anyone. In the dreamwork, the archetypes exist in this realm and can transmit information to us when we are dreaming. Perhaps when I am dreaming, I exist outside of the confines of space and time. If there is a collective consciousness for our species, what about for our planet or our universe or the cosmos? There are things so huge, so inexplicable. Things perhaps even unknowable. Things terrifying in their vastness and madness. Things that are glimpsed in the dreams. If we listen with our hearts, our psyche attempts to bring order out of the seeming chaos of this inner world. The Archetypes seem to participate in our desire for understanding. But since understanding of such vast spiritual concepts cannot be comprehended in an intellectual way, they speak to us through images that convey feelings if we are willing to allow it. And, since our ego attempts to both confuse and thwart us, it is imperative that we seek spiritual counsel from someone qualified to help and with whom a foundation of trust might be built.

But what is this desire to seek that which is unknown? What is this powerful attraction to the divine?

I think that for most of my life, I denied this attraction. In my terror, I turned away. Now, stepping towards it, I feel the powerful attraction. It is like moving closer to the event horizon of a black hole. I do not know what is on the other side, yet I feel the powerful attraction exerting its force on me, drawing me fearfully closer.

When I was a child, I used to read my father's encyclopedias. He was a science teacher, a biologist by training and a chemistry teacher by profession. He is also a naturalist and a lover of theater and opera, even though he presents as an old Vermont farmer. When I first read of the Big Bang Theory, the idea that the universe exploded into existence, I thought, but what caused it? What was there before the explosion? My understanding of the theory was limited, but I decided that potential was what was there. A vast darkness filled with potential for what might become.

I used to love the phrase, "...out of the primordial ooze...". It spoke of things dark and loamy; an ancient, misty, wild verdance in a time before human life. The idea of coming from the mud has a certain sensuality to it.

Many years later, when confronted with the idea of reincarnation during a phase of reading about eastern religions, I was skeptical. How could the population continue to expand in such a way if we are reincarnated souls over and over? I decided that it worked under the big bang theory since the universe was still expanding. This expansion would explain the continued population explosion and the creation of more souls. There is always more science trying to explain the big questions. The idea of the singularity prior to the expansion, string theory, chaos theory, and so on. All based on the idea that there are immutable laws of physics.

But what about evolution? Doesn't then evolution apply to the laws of physics? Might they not evolve such that they shift or change? I think so, only we call this paranormal or magic; and sometimes we call it a Miracle.

Sudden changes in the form or structure of our DNA seem to have randomly led to great leaps in evolution. Order out of Chaos, Chaos out of order... which is it really? What causes the sudden leap? Is this where the creativity comes in? Cosmic imagination pushing towards creative change?

Rupert Sheldrake developed a theory called morphic resonance. Like the idea of collective consciousness, it is predicated on the idea that each life form or group has it's own personal set of patterns or habits. These reside in a morphic field. Units within the group tap into this field through morphic resonance to obtain information that allow it to act out it's existence in accordance to its history. It's structure and activities are consistent and it feeds reinforcing information back into the field thus strengthening it and allowing future units to more easily replicate the pattern or activity.

Someone at the NOE retreat last summer commented that it seemed as if new people were moving more quickly in the work than the original founders and early followers of the Archetypal Dreamwork. Sheldrake's theory would provide a reasonable explanation for why this might be so.

It must be incredibly difficult for a new form to emerge, but once it does, it can emerge more and more easily around the world as the morphic field strengthens. What if this emergence is brought through the creative process? The Divine is the Creator. The incredible, beautiful, inexplicable creative process working through people. We can all share in this. It gives great hope to ideas like peace, democracy, love.

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