Creativity: A Special Form of Encountering Spirit

The title of my book, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, suggests that there is a special encounter with the Divine where creativity occurs.  Is any place more intimate than the place where we create?  Where we co-create with the Spirit of God and the Spirit of largess that inspires our souls where we love?  Where we make love?  Where we love others through serving them with our work?  Where we love our children?  Where we paint our truth?  Where we dance our dance?  Where we speak our words? Where we organize? Where we work?  Where we utter our poetry?

Students create a straw bale building at Heathrow Transition Town. Photo by Jonathan Goldberg, Transition Heathrow, Flickr

The “our” is so big, so immense when we do these things.  The ‘our’ includes the hydrogen atoms of our bodies that are fourteen billion years old; the carbon and other atoms in us that are 5 billion years old; the food we have eaten and the drink we have drunk that give us the energy to work; the ideas that have penetrated our minds and impregnated our imaginations; the language we learned to speak so many years ago; the beauty and the pain we have absorbed through our days on earth.

It is intimate because it is us most truly, spontaneously and totally.  It is also intimate because it is Spirit working through us in so profound a way that Eckhart says God becomes the space where we want to act.  Creativity is not a noun or even a verb—it is a place, a space, a gathering, a union—a where—wherein the Divine powers of creativity and the human power of imagination join forces.  Where the two come together is where beauty and grace happens and indeed, explodes.  Creativity constitutes the ultimate in intimacy for it is the place where the Divine and the human are most destined to interact.

“Artists in the Garden,” Chicago Wisdom Project. Published with permission.

African American philosopher bell hooks talks about the need for an aesthetic revolution and proposes that our times offer an opportunity either where ties will be severed or “new and varied forms of bonding” can occur.  We can make new and unheard of connections between classes and differing races and cultures by way of the aesthetic. 

I concur.  I do not see any way out of humankind’s multiple dilemmas except that one route that got us here in the first place: Our powerful creativity.  But to apply our creativity at the service of justice and compassion—that is the lesson taught by all spiritual traditions and it is a lesson of survival for our times.

Adapted from Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, pp. 4, 8f.
Banner image: “Dancers, Itinga, Brazil.” Photo by Vinicius Vilela from Pexels 

Queries for Contemplation

What are the implications from bell hooks’ vision that an “aesthetic revolution” can happen in our times? 

Does a special experience of the Spirit of Creativity occur for you when you are in states of giving birth and creating?  Is this an important part of prayer for you?

Recommended Reading

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.

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7 thoughts on “Creativity: A Special Form of Encountering Spirit”

  1. Avatar

    “[The gathering space of creativity] is intimate because it is us most truly, spontaneously and totally.” Indeed. As a playwright, I know this to be true. I seldom know where a play is going when I begin, and the words of my characters do “explode” as the play develops. It’s why we can’t write plays or poetry or novels by committee (though directors and actors can help in the rewriting). Occasionally, someone tells me, “I have a great idea for a play,” suggesting that I write it. I politely–I hope politely–thank them, and once there was a suggested idea that stuck. But my plays don’t come from others. They well forth from my soul and write themselves. It must be true that God and I co-create them. Thanks be to God.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Michele,
      Thank you for sharing your experiences of creativity as a playwright, including how personal it is for you. What you are describing is the meeting point between the Via Negativa and the Via Creativa, where you accept the mystery of not knowing your theme or story line until your plays “wells forth from your soul and write themselves”. I sincerely hope that your plays are able to go on to the Via Transformativa where they can change people’s hearts and minds and lives.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

      1. Avatar

        I love this comment from a playwright. I am an audience member. The playwright creates the play that is true to the characters of the play or it won’t get produced. The director has an image of where the play is heading or it won’t be lifted off the page. The actors fill the script with real human life so that the play can come alive. Then the audience comes prepared to be entertained and enlightened. If it all comes together they leave the performance changed and the spiral ratchets up to the next step.
        This is to not down play the vision and work that the set, lighting, sound, costume designers, choreographers, stage manager, and stage hands all contribute. A single performance is a work of beauty made more beautiful because of the many hands that go into making it.

  2. Avatar

    To be or not to be…I hold my breathe for a couple of seconds and I choose to be…again! The discomfort of not being is evident in holding my breathe. I need to feel the discomfort long enough to make a personal choice for co creating my deepest desire to be instant in season and out, with inhaling and exhaling I will find a place in me that forms a love language or pure tongue that bonds even the most disagreeable in a covenant of a mystical union if only for a synapse until we all see a glimpse of the intimate that this planet craves with a longing so deep we all choose to be with our breathe.

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Esther,
      Thank you, once again, for bringing breathe into our conversation. I, too love that split-second silent death between the in-breath and the out-breath. And now you have found the choice to breathe to be part of co-creating, of choosing life at that point of no-breath. In the legacy of Creation Spirituality, that stillpoint is where the Via Negativa gives way to the Via Creativa, and yes, it is life giving!!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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