It’s certainly an experience worth orchestrating, I can attest from personal experience seeing as my whole life revolves round it, but how do you engender the relevant state, how do you optimize the body-mind-soul system to be of service to the creative flow?
Well, I’ll tell you.
As best I can (because a large element of it remains a bit of a mystery and probably must always remain so). As well as which, fittingly it’s an art more than a precise science, this preparing to receive, process and transmit the creative flow, or maybe it’s a precise science at some point in the future when we’ve developed the skills and methods for measuring such things, but for now bear with me if I wax flowery more than rationalist.
Creativity, the sort we experience in the artistic context, regardless of the artistic form, and remember for many business is an art, farming is an art, fixing someone up with a prosthetic limb is an art – it’s all in how you’re describing whatever you’re doing, to yourself – (that creativity) is no different in essence than the creativity that gave and gives rise to this infinite universe we have the privilege to experience from such a neat wee vantage point here on this unusual planet.
Creativity, or the effects thereof, is the visible aspect of the Tao – look around you, this is all Tao and the experience we’re each having of it, is the Tao’s art.
It starts from nothing – wu chi, the ancient Taoists called it – nothingness without end – the proverbial blank canvass – and it (the Tao) creates everything – everything worthwhile, in other words, comes from nothing.
When choosing to channel that force through you, just for the therapeutic thrill of it, you’re choosing to directly collaborate with the Tao – hence why art triggers such an altered state, whether on the creating or consuming side of the game at any given moment – art that is in all its possible forms, not just painting, in case you thought I meant that.
So you have to start by making yourself sturdy, that you maybe a worthy vessel that doesn’t crack or crack up from the effect. Because while you may wonder why I wax so intense on it, if you do find yourself surrendering to the creative impulse for real, and are willing to devote yourself to it to any degree, the ride it takes you on requires good internal shock absorbers and suspension in general.
Hence the ancient Taoists treated the creative process with utmost respect, for while it doesn’t generally make a huge noise in the external sense, the sound in your inner ear of the Tao rushing through you is quite all-encompassing, and the noise of your own internal dialogue in relation to it can be quite a beast to handle too.
Art, creative expression, as one of ‘the Five Excellences,” mastery of which confer the great boons of health, wealth, longevity, wisdom and fulfillment among others, is therefore a pure form, if not the purest form, of spirituality if you care to use such words.
And so must be approached with the relevant attitude and senses awakened.
The idea is to map the trajectory of the impulse onto the terrain of the body.
The aspiration is eventually to experience the creative impulse entering from behind, gathering and gathering force in the pelvic floor and lower abdominal area, and eventually once boiled, rising like fragrant steam along the spine, up through the upper brainstem, into base of the midbrain, and thence to the forebrain where it bursts forth into pictures for you to translate into ideas, and then transform into actual phenomena on the material plane.
The motivation works best when its pure, and non-exploitative – art for art’s sake – for the inestimable reward of working at close quarters with the driving force of existence itself. And should your escapades bear the incidental fruit of other’s approval and you end up making something of it in the big bad world, then so much the better, you’ve constructively added to the mix.
But the driver needs to be pure, and hence relatively free of the narcissistic urge to be admired, for the Taoist approach to work.
Having established that, next comes emptying the mind in the sense of retracting your vantage point to the back of the skull whence you’re able to gaze out at the entire arena of your inner and outer worlds and enjoy a full panorama, and hence perspective.
Draw your mind back and lean it up against the rear wall of the skull.
Next comes clearing the internal space of static, to wit, slow down the exhalation progressively more (the inhalation is autonomic and takes care of itself), until your breathing feels steady, smooth and calm. Check for obvious tension spots in the muscles and release them each by mental command. Expand the internal space by lengthening the spine, broadening the shoulders and raising the breastbone a tiny tad as a gesture of your soul rising up to all that’s beautiful.
Let your inner physical presence drift slowly backwards inside until you feel yourself sitting fully in your back, rather than in the noisy, busy front.
Contemplate the ongoing generation of existence occurring even as we speak, and the limitless power informing it. Picture the crown of your head dividing in two along the front-back midline, like a pair of sliding doors opening to reveal the universal mind – the Akashic records, the annals of time and space, the infinite knowledge of eternity (and all that jolly old gumph) pouring an infinite flow of primordial data through the top of your (open) crown.
Without decoding it, observe and relish the motion of the flow moving through you, filling each cell with fresh data.
Acknowledge your subconscious mind for processing it all at such breakneck speed.
Then request your subconscious translates the relevant aspects of the constant data-flow into a series of creative impulses for you to follow and makes something of.
Finally. Start to breathe out as if breathing out from the base of the back of the head, over the top of the brain, and out through the center of the forehead, and breathing in in reverse, drawing the breath in through the forehead and sending it to the back of the head. So it’s as if you’re streaming the breath through the gap created by your crown opening. And as the breath passes to and fro, it’s serving as an alchemical catalyst to forge fresh new pathways through your neural circuitry appropriate to and to facilitate your particular brand of creative expression.
Garner any impressions of color, sound, temperature, light and all the rest, that will likely start filtering through at this point but do so in a gathering sense, rather than starting to sift and evaluate.
Take a mental picture of yourself enjoying the fruits of your labor a while down the line, once you’ve created whatever it is, then wait for the impulse to stir and then shunt you into action.
Once in action, allow the force in whatever you’re doing to arise from the pelvic-floor/lower-abdominal area, and express itself from your heart through your hands, mouth, or whichever bits of the kit you’re using for the job.
And all the while the mind is just watching without interfering from the back of the head.
And if you like your processes more romantic than that, at this point ask your muse, whoever that may be in the etheric realm, to start pumping through the raw materials of the creation for you to shape into the resulting offering.
Under no account indulge the competitive mind, at least not for very long or very loudly, which otherwise leads you to start comparing yourself to Picasso or the equivalent in your chosen field of expression, inevitably falling short, losing heart, and ditching the whole enterprise.
Instead, remain in constant contact with the Tao in your back and allow yourself to be a mere vessel, a channel for it’s output.
Also assuming you’re not doing your art for your living already, remember to be patient in respect of the time it takes to learn to do the inescapable crafting aspect of the work, because it does take time, and it’s a beautiful process of becoming, but doesn’t happen in five or even six minutes.
And don’t judge the output, see it all as developmental.
And most importantly let go of the conventional, highly limiting, notion of hobbies versus work.
Art isn’t a hobby, art, it’s a service to the universe, and there’s no more important work than that.
Heard it here first dearest reader, go forth and multiply your creations.
With love, that Barefoot