I used to find it difficult to finish what I started. But after publishing a book, a few cd’s, running two marathons and helping over 25 groups of yoga students become yoga teachers themselves, I like to think that these days I’ve got that demon backed into a corner. And I am not about to let him slip away anytime soon.
In creative work, start and finish, beginning and end, are arbitrary. Artificial, even. We look at the seed, and we think it all begins with that, conveniently forgetting the flower, now withered, that begot it.
Everything that exists only exists because something else exists. Nothing exists by itself, or for itself, alone.
That’s why yoga and creation are very close together. And getting good at one will automatically make you good at the other. It’s why a writer I know, could get the advice from her Buddhist master to stop meditating. Instead, she was told, empty yourself as an author. Pour yourself out upon the page, and make your writing your meditation practice.
Creation is practice.
The practice is of joining.
Do not think of creation as an event, with a beginning and an end. It is not like a soccer game, where we have a start signal, an end signal, a clearly delineated playing field, and an arbiter that tells us when we have made a forbidden move.
Instead, think of creation as surfing. We join a movement that was always there, the ebb, the flood, the waves, the wind. No one to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do.
Do not think of creation in a linear way. Sure, one possibility is for the tree to take root, and reach up high into the sky. But another — equally valid — way is that of grass, which grows from the middle out. The horizontal approach.
We tend to think about spirituality vertically. Just consider a term like ‘Higher Self.’ Or terms like heaven, traditionally above, and hell below. We tend to think of God as a ‘higher authority.’
In creation, there truly is no such hierarchy. We encounter everything as a sacred connection, not only with the heavens but also at eye level, the people we meet, the bonds we create.
It is in the Goddess that we encounter the creative truly. But the way she relates to creation is not like a mother presides over the child. Instead, it is a far more intimate connection. Rather see her as the dancer who inhabits the dance, undulating, contracting and expanding within the space.
How do you make a difference between the dancer and the dance? Where does the one begin and the other end?
Creation starts with listening to the heartbeat of the other, their pulse. And you dance with that. And with ‘other,’ I do not just mean other people. Everything that will be created exists in a state of potentiality in your vibrational field. This potentiality has a pulse. Listen to that pulse, and start moving in the same rhythm.
If you can’t hear that pulse, you need to become quieter yourself.
Understand that what wants to come out is already very much going on. You are just joining it. With your own energy, with other energies, making combinations that are always new.
When I think of guitar playing I no longer think of a chord as a fixed strumming that underlies my music, but rather as a moment in time where several potential melodic lines combine and come to expression.
Nothing was every truly born and nothing ever really dies. Everything just transforms in and out of potential states. Existence is not a binary proposition. There is no on or off switch. There is not merely Being and Nothingness, there are many bardos, many intermediate states.
Once asked about his way of working, the Dutch ‘naive artist’ Karel Appel said: “Sometimes when I am done with a painting, it is not quite finished yet. Then I just look at it. I look at it … until it is finished.”
If you get that, you are starting to understand how creation works.