4- The Way of Creativity


[00:00:33] "Does not wisdom cry and understanding put forth her voice (Proverbs 8:1)?"

[00:00:38] Welcome to this episode of Wisdom's Cry. I'm Charlie, but you may know me as scifi fantasy writer C.E. Dorsett. I'm also a member of the Seraphic Church, which is a member of the Creation Spirituality Communities. I'm here to talk to today about the Way of Creativity. The Via Creativa.

[00:01:01] Now just a brief recap if you haven't been listening. If this is your first episode of the podcast. We started on Monday by talking about what is creation spirituality and in that episode we differentiated creation spirituality from the fall redemption tradition. On Tuesday's episode, we talked about the way of bliss. Yesterday, we talked about the negative way, the way of silence, the via negativa. Today, we're talking about the via creativa, the way of creativity.

[00:01:43] So what is the Via Creativa. It is where we find God in the third path in the Via. Creativa: "in the generativity, we cocreate with God in our imaginative output. We trust our images enough to birth them and ride them into existence. This is path 3." That's a quote from Matthew Fox from his wonderful book creation spirituality.

[00:02:14] So what does that mean.

[00:02:17] This is, in many ways, I know I say this for every path (I think I've said this for every path), this is the heart of creation spirituality, but I kind of mean it for every path because we do not just walk from one path to the next path the next path and then we're done. We see life as a spiral dance where we dance between the paths and we name the individual parts of our life in accordance with the path that we are walking at the time.

[00:02:51] And so, while in the Via Positiva, we nerve learned to name and see things as they are. In the Via Negativa, we learn to let go and let be and embrace the emptiness of all things. Today is very different.

[00:03:10] Today we're talking about the creative way, the way of creation and that we are in fact cocreators with God.

[00:03:20] We were made in the image and the likeness of God. We were made to name the world and to shape the world. We were made filled with wisdom. We were made to be artists.

[00:03:41] Now what does that mean?

[00:03:46] There's a lot of things that we go to here. There are a lot of places that we could spend a lot of time talking about. But what this is about is that each of us has something on the inside, each of us has something to give, each of us has a voice and that voice needs to come out. That voice is the aspect of the world that we are to reconcile to God. Each of us has one and we have to find it. 

[00:04:19] So we could talk about a lot of different things. We could talk about the parable of the talents. We could talk about the blessings that God bestowed on many people as well as all of mankind throughout the Bible. I actually want to focus in on this very specifically because we only have a short time together today. But trust me we will be coming back to these themes over and over again.

[00:04:44] "In our generativity," Matthew Fox says, "we cocreate with God. In our imaginative output, we trust our images enough to birth them." That's very important. 

[00:04:59] As we've been talking about, the book of Proverbs tells us in chapter 1 verses 2 through 7 that there are four pillars of wisdom. We've already discussed two of them, we're now with the third.

[00:05:21] In this, we are talking about the pillar of wise behavior the pillar of Sakal. Sakal means, to be prudent, to be circumspect, wisely understanding, proper, giving attention to, considering, pondering, being prudent, to have insight and comprehension. 

[00:05:56] In the Via Positiva, in the way of bliss, We talked about the Dabhar, the Divine Word of God, and how we must learn to speak it and that that is where the true power of the word of God lies. It's in the spoken word. it's in the enacted word. It is the power given to it by breath. This is when we learn to trust that power as it flows through us. We learn to have the courage to ride it into existence.

[00:06:30] This path, I think in a lot of ways, even though the Via Negativita, that we talked about yesterday is really hard to understand. I think this one in a lot of ways is almost harder to understand and one of the reasons why I'm having a hard time talking about it. Because creativity is a very hard thing to talk about.

[00:06:52] Why is that? Because all of us express it differently. As I said in the intro, I'm a writer. Writing is my primary method of creating. I also like to talk. I dabble in drawing and painting and stuff, but my primary creative output is in writing. If I were to talk to you right now about writing, if you are an artist, if you're a dancer, if you're a cook, whatever it is, if you're a coder, whatever it is that your creative output is going to be talking to you in the language of writing, qnd not in the language that might speak to you. And that's what makes creativity a difficult thing. You should always start when you're trying to figure out what it is that's in you. What is it that you need to have the courage to give birth to. You need to ask yourself. What is it that you love to do. I have friends whose creative output is reviews. They're really good at it, and they love doing it and the reviews aren't just simply saying oh this is good or this is bad. They have a talent for critique, an amazing talent for critique where at the end of it you feel more involved in whatever they were talking about. You feel that you understand it better and that's a real gift. And so maybe that's your gift.

[00:08:26] Everybody looks for the obvious things. Well I'm going to be an actor and would be a film maker and would be YouTuber and would be a podcast are going to be a writer and going to be an artist and would be a blogger or I'm going to be an Instagram celebrity a vine star or whatever. And if you're looking at it at that superficial level it becomes really hard to find what you're good at.

[00:08:51] I know someone who's talent, who's absolutely gifted creativity is the way they smile. They love to smile they love to listen to people talk. And that gift of listening that gift of smiling is healing and soothing to the world.

[00:09:10] That's not a gift that a lot of us tend to look for. You know what I'm saying? I have an aunt whose gift is knowing when to send a card. She's this uncanny knack weeks sometimes ahead of time to send a card because you know because you know how the mail is, just the thinking of you and you're having a bad day and you go out and you check your mailbox and boom there it is. It just happens to be there. How did she know a week ago or whenever she sent it to send that card. She just had a feel for it. That's her creativity. That's the beautiful thing that she births into the world. That may seem simple for you but just you try to do that. I couldn't do that and that's the power of this creative urge that comes from within us. It's unique to each one of us. Even though I'm a writer and there are millions of other writers, the way I write, the way tell stories, the kinds of stories that I tell are unique. When I draw there are millions of people that draw. But the way I draw is the way I draw. It's not the way that they draw, and thus it's unique. And being unique doesn't make it better or worse it just makes it unique and that's what you need to be looking for.

[00:10:34] What is that little unique thing that you have deep, deep down inside you that you want to share, that you need to sharem that you have to share.

[00:10:46] Find it. Share it. Do it. Stop waiting. Stop. Stop. Stop waiting.

[00:10:53] I know you're thinking well I'll do it after the podcast. Right now, right now, you know what it is. You know what it is all of us, I think secretly know that thing that we love to do.

[00:11:04] I love to tell stories. I really do. When I go to conventions, Yeah, I go to some of the panels, I go sit in for the stars, I get pictures taken, I go to the autograph lines like everybody else, but my absolute favorite thing of doing is staking out a place where people know I'm going to be just so I can sit around and we can tell stories with each other, because they love to hear their stories, I love to share my stories. I love to talk and love stories. Stories is my gift. Stories is the thing that I bring into the universe. And I know that.

[00:11:38] It took a long time to figure out because I thought I wanted to be a poet and I thought I wanted to be a writer. And then I got really really into languages and I thought well maybe I'm going to be a translator. And I started looking at all these different things. When it was so blindingly obvious right there in front of me. I want to tell stories, and so I do. So what I'm doing with you right now I'm telling stories beautiful divine stories

[00:12:07] What's your gift?

[00:12:09] I think if you just say it, without thinking, without thinking, to say it. You'll find a lot of times that you just skipped that critical thinking part that tells you will that's not realistic because most of the things that were gifted with are not realistic. Bringing peace to a war torn country is not realistic. Becoming a brain surgeon is not realistic. Becoming a rocket scientist is not realistic. It's not, but people do it. It's hard but people do it. And that's what you have to set yourself to stop listening to the little voices low realism.

[00:12:50] If that's what you're on this earth to do. I'm not saying that you'll do it as your income. I'm not saying that you will do it as the way that you make a living. But I'm telling you, if you don't find your way to do it. Elizabeth Gilbert in her wonderful book Big Magic tells a story about a woman who loved to figure skate and when she realized that she wasn't going to be an Olympian She gave it up. Only to rediscover it later in life. And how much of her life she missed because she wasn't figure skating. Don't let that be you.

[00:13:31] Don't let that be you. You can find that thing deep down inside you that gives your life meaning and purpose. So as we've discussed with many of these paths, with all of them actually. There are what we call themes that are associated with each of these paths. These are aspects of our lives that while not everything is contained within one path like I said we spiral dance in and around and amongst them. These are things. That are strongly associated with that path. And don't worry, we will be doing probably fulls weeks on almost all of these topics. I'm just going to cover them and brief, doing a quick kind of tutorial, an introduction to creation spirituality that we're doing this week.

[00:14:27] So the first one is a hard one because, one sounds like something that sounds like the opposite of something I said in the previous episode and it sounds strange to Western ears. Unless you're a member of the Orthodox Church and that is theosis are divinization as images of God who are cocreators. Now this does not mean that we become little gods. This does not mean that we become God. What it means is we in our faith strive to bring to pass what Jesus prayed for. In John 17, Jesus prays that we may be one in him as he is with the father who is in heaven. And so that is what we strive to do. We learn to conform ourselves more to the divine image, which is peace, patience, justice, compassion, and so many other things. We learn that part of this is our responsibility to be cocreators, to leave this world better than it was when we first entered it. And that's a hard thing.

[00:15:53] Feel like I should take a moment and say if you're hearing a lot of noise, my dog's doing things in the background, I apologize for that of. I'm trying to just truck on, but it's been a little distracting and I apologize and distracting for you.

[00:16:08] The second theme is that the divine imagination is the word of God in action. Just as we discussed Dabhar, the spoken word, as the word of God in the way of bliss and the via  positiva and peace, Shalom, as the word of God in the via negativa. The divine imagination is the word of God in the Via creativa. And what does that mean. What does that mean. That means that those inspired images that come to us and through us are the word that we are to say and to bring into the world.

[00:16:55] We believe in practicing art as meditation. Drawing, painting, dancing, singing, these are equally valid meditations as sitting in a place silently and practicing avoda be-bittul or Vipassana meditation, mindfulness meditation. They're just it's just as valid to draw or paint or to tell a story or to sing a song, To dance, just as valid. Just as valid as sitting and reading from a prayer book would be to be a positive version of this. Art is just as valid a form of meditation.

[00:17:40] We believe that mythos is faith as trust in images. So when we talk about an image there's something you'll find out especially next week when we started a discussion about Jesus. This is something that I get really, really bent out of shape about where atheists and fundamentalists start arguing over the historical Jesus and it gets worse because even liberal Christians tend to do this sometimes and talk about the difference between the historical Jesus and the cosmic Christ and none of that matters. We already know that all of this is empty. We've talked about that previously in the via negativa, in the previous episode. None of that matters. It's all empty. "Vanity of vanities," says the preacher, "all is vanity just as chasing after the wind." Everything is vanity all is havel, so this argument over was there really a historical exodus. It doesn't matter. The story matters and the story matters more than any historical truth ever could because without the story you don't remember it and whether you're remembering something that historically happened or you remembering something that is a story passed down, the power is in the story. The myth of George Washington is so much more important than he himself is to us today. Now back in his day, the person George Washington was very important. He was careful to craft a mythos surround himself that also became important. But today, what George Washington did in 1776, or Ben Franklin did. It doesn't matter

[00:19:44] What matters is how we interpret reinterpret and live that story that they've passed down to us and that's the power of mythos. So we'll be talking about that a lot.

[00:19:56] We believe that God is as equally mother as father. In fact you often hear me refer to the Holy Spirit as mother. The divine presence and we also believe in seeing God as a child. St Teresa of Avila said that the most important task that we can have is when we pray, think of Jesus as a baby in his mother's arms. She said it's hard to be vain and self-serving when you serve a baby. God is not only a child in an event that happened 2000 years ago. God is a child inside each and every one of us longing to be born. As the apostle Paul said. "I travail in labor with you my brothers and sisters until Christ be formed in you." And that is the work of is of divinization. That is the work of theosis that we're about and that is the work that we are about in the universe is that bringing that gift of God that is in us that image of God that is in us that needs to be born into the world.

[00:21:15] And that's a brief introduction to the Via Creativa.

[00:21:20] I hope you're finding these episodes handy. Tomorrow, we'll be talking about the last of the four paths, the via transformativa, transformative waym the way of transformation.

[00:21:30] If you want to get this or any other episodes you can head over to Wisdom's Cry Dot Com. You'll find that all of these have been collected up into a nice little group for you so that you can listen to them and share them all together as one lesson an introduction to the way of creation spirituality. You can also subscribe to this podcast there or in your favorite podcasting service. If this episode has been helpful to you. Please rate us in your favorite podcast app and of course share this with a friend. Let somebody else know that we're here. You can find me @wisdomcriesout at Twitter on Twitter which is where I spend most spare time when we do have a Facebook page. I often don't think to mention it but we do. I do have a Facebook page where wisdom's cry on Facebook so you'll find us there too. So until next time we meet, God bless and take care of yourself andfind what it is that you need to give birth to. I find that little creative thing and do it DO IT DO IT. Your life will be so much better when you do.