“I can’t do this!” she said as she held the paint brush in her hand, about to begin her painting. A few months ago, we were offering an art workshop and, as a group, we all had gone through preparatory exercises to enable participants to become comfortable with a creative process. We also offered activities to raise our level of consciousness before we began: chanting, some yoga stretches, visualizations, and a short guided meditation. Uplifting music was playing, the paints were laid out and everyone was standing in front of their blank sheets.
And just when the time came to pour the first color onto the page, a huge block came up for one of the participants. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but it was a tangible fear, one that had to be dealt with right then and couldn’t just be brushed aside.
The Power and Benefit of a Creative Process
This incident helped me realize a few things about the power and benefits of the creative process. For example, one of the ways in which creativity helps us is by unblocking past patterns within us. Essentially, it helps to release blocked creative energy inside. It is like allowing a tangled up hose pipe to be straightened out by letting the water flow freely through it. In our human case, a channel is then opened which allows fresh perspectives to flow through. And in this case, by tuning into a higher consciousness through the music we listen to, or through some movement, or meditating before painting, we are able to offer our energy up to the divine to be purified, and that reflects in our creative expressions too!
In meditation classes in Ananda we often say that “awareness precedes control.” When we begin to meditate, we become aware of certain habits, attitudes or behavior patterns that we have. Only once you become aware of them you can take the necessary steps to change yourself and put out the energy to overcome them. Similarly, art and creativity offers us a journey within ourselves. The first thing is to see a block: if you can’t even see it, how can you work with it?
For this participant, seeing this block helped her realize it was there. The advantage of this situation was that she didn’t have to think too much about it or beat herself up. Being in the magnetism of the entire class (where everyone was busy diving into their own soul expressions) helped give her some courage to deal with this block without giving it too much importance. This is one of the reasons why being in the right company (satsang) is essential: it provides a support system for us to keep moving when we are stuck. So, the happy ending to that story was that she mustered the courage, picked up her brush and went for it!
Somehow, ever since that incident, something in her seemed to lighten up. She came around more to serve in Ananda and built a nice routine for her meditation practice. And in general, she seemed to open up more to life. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was that step of courage that aided this transformation. What I learned from this experience is that being creative demands courage. Art is just one means to help with this, but we can practice the same principle even with the little things in life. Essentially, it means taking one courageous little step at a time which can open a whole world for us.
It is a great opportunity when we finally see something in ourselves that needs some “fixing”. This incident inspired me to have more courage to try to move forward in whatever way I can with any blocks that come up, to put out more energy, to shift my perspectives, to be creative and find the solutions which are always available to us.
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