Where does creativity come from?

How to become a travelling yogi

Yesterday, after practicing yoga, I looked through some videos about yoga on youtube and happened to find one short interview with the Ashtanga Yoga teacher Mark Robberrds, who talked about how he came to be a travelling yoga teacher.

While the whole story was quite interesting, the part that really got my attention was when he mentioned a book called “The Artist’s Way”, that helped him find his path and that there is an exercise that involves writing an advisary letter to yourself, but imagining that you are 80 years old and write this letter from the future. One very strange aspect of this excercise seems to be that this imagined future self tends to be a lot wiser than the real current you.

Thank the muses

After googleing the title and the author, I read about this book on Wikipedia and found that she (Julia Cameron) attributes this wisdom and all creativity to “God” (the Wikipedia page does not say which god). This is clearly not a new concept. It is even one of the oldest concepts about creativity and art that we know of in human history. Elizabeth Gilbert talked about this concept on TED and not only described its history, but also the history of the modern indiviual artist, who is supposed to be the source of his own creativity. She compares the two views and finds that the individualistic concept of creativity is hurting the creative people, because it puts a lot more weight on their shoulders than the can safely carry. So she encourages creative people to take a more accepting stand on their own successes and failures.

The prison of the ego

The trick seems to be to change the perspective from the confines of the ego to something different, be it the muses, god, in imaginary self from the future or the past. Another way to have better insight than you normally have is to experience changed states of mind like the famous “flow”-state.

One other effect of these strategies seems to be a greater courage to live out your individuality, while at the same time lessening the grip of the ego.

New Years Resolutions?

Is it even a good idea to make New Years Resolutions? I don’t know, but reading into this topic and remembering similar things, I had read or experienced in the past made me think that I want to change my way of leading my life from difficult and often failing attempts of self-discipline to a more intuitive self-driven way. The first steps being reading and doing “The Artist’s Way”.


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