HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 30, 2016 – 12:00am
What if you could make things out of thin air? What if you could make something out of nothing?” I ask these questions when I am conducting a class in creativity.
Very often, our concept of creativity is what makes it so hard to create anything. We think the ideas come from our minds, specifically from our literal brains. We think we need to concentrate and focus and come up with an idea in our head and write it down on paper, to materialize it to the physical level. That sounds really hard, and stressful, if I may add.
I use to think that way. Sometimes, I must confess, I still do. That’s when I have a hard time coming up with anything.
I want to look at creativity as something magical and easy. I like to tell my students to look at creativity this way: that every possible thing that can be created has been created and is existing, floating somewhere in the universe, inside of us, and outside as well. The job of a creator is to simply allow himself to be the magnet that attracts these creations and bring them to physical life.
What really happens first when we embark on creativity is we make an intention, a declaration to create something. We open our entire being to inspiration which can always be found from within and around us, everywhere! The self-contained, self-inspired artists know this through experience.
You actually do not need an earth-shaking event or inspirational muse from the outside to get going. Some artists do it without much fanfare. They simply show up and create.
Can you imagine what havoc it would cause in our daily lives if we had to depend on, say, a love affair, or a world event to get us inspired? Imagine having to write 10 songs for an album where 90 percent of the material is about love. Do we have to fall in love so many times to write love songs? The answer is no. While it is true these things do help some people get inspired to come up with artistic work, it would be difficult to make it a requisite every time we create something. We must be able to draw inspiration from ourselves.
Creating something is as much a craft as it is art. We must develop skills to do what we must do. By continuously doing it with presence and attention, we can constantly unleash inspiration from inside us to make works of art.
Can drugs or alcohol be useful in living a creative life? Can it get you inspired? In truth, I am allergic to alcohol. I do not have any use for drugs at all. And I feel that some artists who find alcohol and drugs to be useful and must depend them to keep going will burn out eventually. It is not a sustainable way in triggering inspiration much less in maintaining it. Sooner or later, fatigue and numbness set in. And too much drug or alcohol use stunts growth, and dependence on them eventually blocks creativity.
I believe everybody is born creative, but not everyone is living a creative life. Those who do not think they are creative do so probably because of years of blockage. They have been led to believe by people around them that they were never creative. They have been terrorized, ridiculed, and convinced that they cannot do anything worthwhile in the creative field. They live in great doubt about their creative instincts. Before even trying, they’ve already given up. They will only try if they can be assured that they will be good at it.
The prescription for them is to slowly unblock and simply allow their innate creativity to flourish. We were born creative but through no fault of ours, we grew up with too many conditions to be creative. It may take years but it is possible to get it back to the point where you can “just create” with as little conditions as possible.
If you can still wake up in the morning and smile at a new day, or can laugh at something, or love a person, you still have it in you.