Below I’ve posted a TED video of a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best selling book “Eat, Pray, Love”. In this vid she gives a beautiful talk about the nature of creative genius that questions the modern/ post-modern assumption that acts of genius come from and belong to the self. In a nut shell, Gilbert challenges us to ask the question “is creative genius something that comes “from” us, or is it something that comes “through” us?” These two points of view are easy to confuse but as it turns out the ability to discriminate between them is truly important to the psycho-spiritual health and happiness of the creative-self.
Taking a 1st person ownership of any of our creative achievements may indeed bring a certain amount of narcissistic satisfaction. But taking this ownership often results in leaving the self pressed (and perhaps, as Gilbert suggests, even doomed) to repeat previous moments of grace. However, if we shift our perspective of creative genius to a 3rd person “thing” that we have a 2nd person relationship with, everything changes. Creative Genius then becomes a “thing” that is outside of us, a “force” that we surrender to and make ourselves a channel for. When we make this shift the genius we participate with is allowed to move through us, taking the pressure of the whole universe off of the self. This simple shift in perspective from 1st person owner ship to 2nd person surrender, relieves the self of the heavy burden of being the creative source of the universe (which is quite a burden to carry).
We both come from and return to the source greater than the self. In moments of grace the self can become a manifestation of this source. But as for the “source of the source”, it is beyond anything belonging to the personal self regardless of any confusion we may have. Our job in relation to the creative genius is simply to surrender the personal and all its agendas, and to allow this creative genius to come through should it choose.
A mistake in these perspectives can have dire consiequences for the self. As Gilbert says:
“One of the most painful reconciliation’s for any artist to make is accepting that maybe he may never ascend to the genius, or glimpse of God again. This can be hard. What is he supposed to do with the rest of his life? This is one of the most painful reconciliations to make in life. But maybe it doesn’t have to be full of anguish if you never believe in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being don’t come from you. But maybe if you believe that they are just on loan to you, form some unimaginable source to be passed along to someone else when you’re finished… If we think about it this way, it starts to change everything.”
In the below vid Gilbert cleary articulates the nature of the creative genius, and in doing so it appears before our very eyes. There it is….there’s God, Allah, Allah, Allah…
Ole! Ole! Ole!
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