Reflections on Creativity

by Peter Milhado PHD on September 3, 2017

When we’re involved in a creative task, there is a sense of time. Being fully in the now is a blessing that keeps our soul alive, because in that moment we are in touch with the eternal, we hone into home.  Matisse said, “I believe in God when I’m working.”  The great mystic William Blake tells us when we’re creative ‘Satan’ (i.e. obsession, fear, frantic activity, judgement etc.) cannot intrude.  That is one of the reasons I request patients to consider creative tasks- be it writing, painting, music, sculpting, dance, poetry etc.  Another and equally important reason is in order to heal our wounds we have to be able to be still and reflect on our day.  Creativity invites us into contemplation, which is a rare commodity these days.  Slowing down and taking time allows soul to enter and that can change a life.  As our wounds reside deep inside of us, mostly in the unconscious, we have to find ways to travel down deep.  Outside of recording our nightly dreams there is no better way than through creative engagement.

Creativity brings meaning- meaninglessness brings illness.  Therefore, it becomes our responsibility to provide a hospitable environment for the creative ‘daemon’ who resides in all human beings, to show up.  No excuses will be tolerated when we hit our 40’…. otherwise there are grave consequences.  We have to be careful here not to romanticize creativity with too many lofty fantasies, and desires for exceptional achievement.  At bottom, creativity is soul work and an act of the imagination, as imagination is the home of the soul.  People who are stuck in a neurosis suffer from a failure of the flow of imagination.  Creativity is our main ally in living soulfully, making something for the soul of everyday experience heals…unquestionably.

The move away from power to love is real love and this involves immense suffering. (Marion Woodman)   Much creative work comes from that level. Where we share our suffering… sometimes just the sheer suffering of being human.  When our creative energy is blocked for long periods of time, it will find an outlet in some kind of distorted religion… an addiction, for example, can be a distorted religion.  Yet, when creativity flows and we become invested in nourishing and releasing our inner we are much less likely to dive into the refrigerator or the liquor cabinet.

For some people, depression is a catalyst for an onslaught of a creative wave.  For others, creativity can arise out of sexual interest and desire and for still others a spiritual crisis triggers off an inner directed creative journey.  We become the artists of our own lives.  Creativity becomes integrated into our daily rituals.  It’s a commitment and engagement to soul, which cannot be undone by failures or flashes of success.  Thomas Moore tells us that art is not the expression of talent- it’s about the preservation of soul.  Art captures the eternal in every day, it allows us to reflect on our daily experiences and therefore invites soul in.  Sometimes, when going to a museum or reading a good book we see more of our souls than through introspective analysis.  Writing a soulful letter to a friend can be a highly creative and healing experience.

The role of creativity in healing is profoundly under appreciated.  Many psychologists think of themselves as scientists who do not believe these is such a thing as soul, which is terribly ironic as psychology means ‘science of the soul’.

 A creative vision is always either a defeat or a willing surrender of the ego.  Creative work shows us there are bigger things going on in our universe than our egos.  There is a center much deeper and wiser in our psyches than our egos- if we can only sit still long enough and listen.   When therapy works best there is no agenda.  I listen to people’s unconscious, wait for instructions and let the unconscious prescribe.  Love to Mother Meera….One for all and all for one.

Love to Mother Meera. One for all and all for one.

Peter Milhado © 2017

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