Man as creator: your highest ideals
MAN AS CREATOR
Your Highest Ideals
Man As Creator
Fairy tales, mythology, classic literature and history are filled with stories of miracles. Aladdin had a magic genie whose sole duty and purpose was to fulfill Aladdin’s desires. King Midas received his wish to have everything he touched turn to gold. Hercules encountered many challenges and prevailed to win his desired rewards. Most children believe that when they throw a coin in a wishing well, blow out the candles on a birthday cake, ask Santa Claus or wish upon a star, their desires will be granted. All you have to do is decide what you want and your mind will work in magical and mysterious ways to give it to you. Your mind has the power to say to you, “Your wish is my command!”
Life can be an exciting adventure, a stimulating schoolroom, a world of experience which gives us opportunities to learn, to create, and to prosper mentally, emotionally, materially, and spiritually. Every day we can awaken to the promise of enhanced awareness. How we create our life experiences and our world around us is determined by the degree of awareness we possess. The more we understand the purpose for life, the more enriched our everyday existence can be. The more we create the situations and circumstances we desire, the more we command the peace, contentment and happiness we deserve.
Years ago, when I was a young child of about five or six years old, I had a vision of the world as I imagined it could be. It didn’t make sense to me that people were unhappy. It didn’t make sense to me that people were mean, that they robbed or killed or hurt other people. I believed if people were truly doing what they wanted to do, then everyone would live in harmony and would be happy. I believed the source of such destructive actions was the unhappiness people experienced when they were living a life other than that which they desired. I thought that if someone was not doing what he or she wanted to do, he or she would take it out on other people by being nasty.
My vision was that each person knew him or herself. Everyone had a “calling,” a vocation which was an expression of their true, inner heart’s desire. As a result, everyone was content, and everyone reached out to give to one another. Because each person had his or her own unique talents and abilities, he or she was able to help other people who didn’t have those abilities. The world was like a big puzzle, and each piece was a person who was fulfilling his or her heart’s desires and creating from the depth of his or her being.
Although I have matured since that time, I still believe when an individual is doing what he or she truly desires to do, when he is creating from the source of his being, he is content. I have heard objections to this idea: “You’re crazy! If everyone is running around doing whatever they please there will be chaos! People will kill one another! They will damage each other’s property!” I have found this to be untrue. When someone creates, he fills his soul with awareness and understanding. If his creation benefits his soul, spiritual Self, or inner Self, it will benefit other people as well. People only hurt one another when they are denying their creative urge.
The lives of famous people illustrate this. Today we often take for granted the achievements of men and women who came before us. A person we call a “genius” is often one with a drive to pursue excellence. When one responds to the urge to reach within the depths of themselves and brings forth what they believe and know to be true, they are motivated by the highest passion. The people we remember are ones who gave themselves to life, who were always striving to reach higher, to delve deeper, to demand of themselves the best. Our lives are different because such people give; their influence spans generations.
Consider Shakespeare, whose understanding of universal truth and the nature of humanity has been passed down for centuries from the words of his pen. Or Euclid, who defined structure, and whose postulates and axioms form the basis of today’s geometry although he lived in 300 B.C. Albert Einstein is another example of an individual whose creativity has influenced the entire world. Although he never did well in school, his curiosity about the universe led him to discover the principle of relativity and eventually the tremendous power of atomic reactions. Einstein believed in a God “who reveals himself in the harmony of all being” and his scientific research is a testimony to his drive to discover and know his own Creator.
Marie Curie, another scientist, overcame obstacles to bring the discovery of radioactivity to the world. Born in Poland during a time when education was forbidden to women, Curie travelled to France to attend the Sorbonne, and graduated first in her class with concentration in physics and mathematics, unheard of for women at the time. Her original intention was to become educated to teach so that she could bring about her vision of a free Poland. Her scientific discoveries led her down a different path, and through her dedication, research, and inquisitive thinking, we now have radiation therapy and a greater understanding of the structure of the atom. Thomas Jefferson had a similar dedication to education. Of his many achievements he considers the establishment of the University of Virginia to be his greatest. Jefferson was committed to a vision of insuring that each person be free to live up to the potential given to us by our Creator. The primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson believed that “the God who gave us life gave us liberty” and through his actions ensured that the United States of America would provide a structure to enable its citizens to live this truth.
Leonardo da Vinci was another individual who was so full of talents he excelled in many diverse areas. An artist and sculptor, civil engineer, architect, military planner, inventor, scientist, and draftsman, in all of his activities he held a vision of a better life. He drew designs for a flying machine, the mechanics of which are used in aircraft today. Dissecting corpses and using his artistic genius, he drew the first anatomy textbook with accurate pictures of the human body. His ideas were so far ahead of their time that many were not made into machines during his day, but nonetheless he gave what he knew and had the courage to explore ideas that seemed crazy to those less enlightened than he.
There are many stories of men and women like these whose lives continue to touch ours generations later. These people have changed the world through their incessant search for truth, their drive and determination to find answers to the meaning of life, and their use of imagination, will power, and mental discipline. They were not born this way, they became this way through living lives of purpose and through keeping alive the inner voice of truth. The great American philosopher and writer Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.” When a person discovers a truth that has universal application and has the courage to communicate these ideas to the world, he or she makes a mark. Humanity progresses as a result of their desire and willingness to create a better world.
We each have an urge to create. We are happy when we are creating. Look at children. They are always inventing stories, designing clubs with rules and regulations of order, building houses with blocks, drawing, making up songs. Unfortunately, gradually and subtly children learn to squelch their creative drive. Adults tell them they need to be serious, to be practical. They hear in verbal and nonverbal ways, “You will never amount to anything. You’re too idealistic! Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed. Oh, that’s just a pipedream. Get real!” So, as we mature physically, we become stunted spiritually. We learn to turn down or even shut off our creative drive. We learn we can’t have what we want.
Learning how to create, how to re-awaken the imaginative urge we are born with, starts with understanding that we are worthy. Why not have what we want? We each have free will, we each have intelligence and existence and the ability to reason. We have the means to be responsible for our choices. And we have a great power known as imagination. Every time we create, we become more aware of who we are and our capabilities. Every time we conceive an idea and bring it to fruition, we produce life. Unlike animals, as human beings who think and reason and imagine, when we create new life we also create awareness. We are life becoming aware of itself.
Benjamin Franklin is an excellent example of a man whose creative endeavors developed his Self awareness. Like Thomas Jefferson and Leonardo da Vinci, Franklin was truly a “Renaissance Man” of many talents — a writer, editor, scientist, inventor, statesman, ambassador, publisher, printer, and philosopher. He is a remarkable figure whose optimism, sense of humor and practical wisdom have been handed down through proverbs like “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” Franklin dedicated his life to the continual improvement of himself. In his autobiography he describes a life plan he devised for attaining perfection. Each morning, Franklin would arise and ask himself the question, “What good will I do today?” He identified thirteen virtues which he believed to encompass the human perfection he desired: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquillity, chastity, and humility. Franklin chose one virtue a week to practice with diligence and recorded his progress daily. At the end of each day, he would review what he had learned, how he had evolved, and would ask himself the question, “What good did I do today?” and meditate upon this. Cultivating one virtue a week, practicing to develop it every day, Franklin repeated this cycle four times a year every year of his life. He was reportedly a very happy man, and attributed his happiness to this philosophy: “The most acceptable service to God is doing good to man.”
Benjamin Franklin understood the principle that aiding others to abundance produces abundance in oneself.
This example shows us that the secret to happiness does not lie in acquiring material things. We can use creative imagery for physical objects, to produce desired conditions, and to achieve status and recognition. The kind of creation that brings us the greatest joy, however, is that which brings us closer to our own creative essence. As we create, we discover more about our own wisdom, power, limitlessness, and originality. We learn what is infinite and eternal. We find out what links us with all of humanity, for we all emanate from the same origin. When we create for the purpose of understanding our own creative nature, we build security, for the laws of creation are just, immutable, and timeless. The thrill of connecting with that eternal source of creativity inspires us to strive to become the best we can be.
Every time we create responsibly, we are honoring the creative power, the essence of life itself. Think about what you love to do the most — do you sing to yourself when you are driving or walking? Do you draw in the margins of papers? Are you always writing letters or finding some other reason to write? When you are doing what you love, you are tapping into the creative genius within you. You are drawing from the inner source of your being. The process of creation itself will aid you to understand and know your worth. Every individual is unique, each one of us has special talents, abilities, understandings, qualities and skills to offer to the world. All of humanity is different today because we benefit from the creative gifts of musicians, scientists, educators, and leaders who followed their heart’s desire. When you create what you love, you give the world a precious gift: you! You create your identity as you create the projects in your hands.
Take a moment to remember a time when you were happy, a time when you were in love with life, when you were attracted to another person, or a job, or a place you lived. What were you creating? Were you in the process of writing a novel? Painting a picture? Designing a home? Creating a successful business? There was some kind of imaginative thinking occurring that produced the thrill. The experience of being “in love” is one of being creative. Most people in love start to imagine marriage and often dream of having children together. Children are the offspring of a creative union. Whether our “children” are physical children or creative projects, the desire to produce offspring is the expression of our creative urge.
Every creation is a manifestation and expression of love. Love is a magnetic, attractive force. In its highest form, love brings life to our creations and springs forth from those creations. The seeds of all great works have their origin in love. Love is a drawing together of aggressive (masculine) and receptive (feminine) energies. When you give your attention to what you love it is easy to create. When you create it is easy to love what you do. The good feeling that comes from loving your life and creativity is not the temporary feeling that arises from emotional mood swings. The contentment and thrill of creating is a sustained, enduring, permanent satisfaction. Our creations come from within us and we have the power to create at will, any time we desire. There is a great security in knowing how the creative process works because we can apply what we have learned from one situation in life to another situation that is outwardly very different.
For example, Martha was a very gifted pianist who was also extremely shy. She had practiced the piano from the time she was five, and over the years had developed a style uniquely hers. Martha was confident in that one area of her life, but was painfully insecure in meeting people and interacting with them. Martha’s friend Elise asked her if she would be willing to teach piano lessons to her daughter. Martha hesitated at first but then agreed because Elise was her friend and she did not want to disappoint her. When Martha started teaching, she started to discover how she had developed her expertise with the piano, through a step by step process of discipline. Identifying these steps awakened within Martha a new awareness. She began to realize that just as she had learned to coordinate her hands, had learned to hear the music in her mind before she played the instrument, she could also learn to coordinate other aspects of herself. She realized that shyness was not a permanent state of being, and she could learn to become familiar with people and image different kinds of relationships than she had previously had. Playing the piano was not just a physical skill, it was an art that required the use of Martha’s mind, imagination, and will, and these could be harnessed for her to shape a new quality of expression.
Knowing that you are a creative being gives you tremendous freedom. It means that you can move toward what you want rather than being paralyzed by fear or self doubt. It is a sad state in modern society that so many are separated from the creative urge within themselves. Too many people have learned that they are powerless and limited by conditions around them. Listen to people talk, and you will hear, “I can’t help it, I’m only human. It’s just not possible. I’ve got to struggle to survive. What’s the point of trying to improve? Things will always go wrong in the end. I’m just one person. What can I do?” If you find yourself thinking this way, draw upon the examples of those whose single lifetime influenced the course of humanity — the Benjamin Franklins, Leonardo DaVincis, Marie Curies and Albert Einsteins. Imagine yourself being like they were and cause this to come about. As spiritual beings, we are endowed with creative imagination. We have free will, which means that we can always choose the conditions and circumstances in which we live. We are free to change the conditions that trouble us and with applied effort we can change negative ways of thinking that cloud the beauty of the soul.
To say or think “I can’t” denies the very nature of our being. Thinking of life as a struggle for physical survival is saying existence is only for maintaining the physical body. But the life of the thinker is motion, creation, the use of imagination and free will. When we are using our imagination and free will we are alive! We are enthralled with life! A simple way to begin experiencing the joy of creation is to look every day for small ways that you can improve the world around you. When you walk down the street and see a piece of paper on the ground, pick it up. Smile at the people you see on the bus. Strike up a conversation with the woman behind you in the supermarket check-out line. Offer to lend a hand to a neighbor who is carrying a load into their home from their car. When you start looking for ways to help people and to cause positive changes, you will be amazed to discover how much you have to give. You will find that these small acts of kindness, practiced consistently throughout the day, will leave you with a sense of pride, well-being and self respect. In this way you will learn to believe in yourself. You will find out that you are worthy of receiving your desires.
To overcome a sense of purposelessness or meaninglessness, to re-awaken the wonder and awe of life, decide how you want to be remembered. Do you want to be unreliable, full of good ideas that never amount to anything, or always falling short of your ideals? Of course not! You probably want to be remembered for being a person anyone could trust, an individual whose integrity and example helped to make the world a better place to be. Eleanor Roosevelt described it well: “If at the end one can say, ‘This man used to the limit the powers that God granted him; he was worthy of love and respect and of the sacrifices of many people, made in order that he might achieve what he deemed to be his task,’ then that life has been lived well and there are no regrets.” Learn how to love what you do or create change in your life to do what you love. You have vast creative power within you, and the freedom to decide how you want to use it. Start now by asking yourself these questions: What do I want? What is life to me? How can I imagine being fulfilled? What is my greatest love? What is my greatest dream? What do I want to become? How do I want to influence the world? Give yourself time to explore these questions and reach deep within yourself for answers that resound with a sense of surety.
Give yourself the gift of discovery. Begin to experiment with a new way of thinking. Be purposeful. Think the kind of thoughts that will produce the peace and contentment you desire. We each have the ability to imagine, and through using imagination we can create the life we desire for ourselves. Every time we create we learn that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves, for all the forces of the universe are on our side and draw to us seemingly mystical and magical experiences. We find out that everything we do affects someone else, and the more fully we give, the more expansive our influence becomes. This brings us happiness because improving the lives of others is one way of expressing gratitude for the gift of life. Every thought and action that is directed toward understanding how creation occurs will aid you to know your True Self. You will discover and expand your awareness of your True Self with each creative activity to which you give purposeful, attentive thought.
You will learn to transcend the insecurity of wondering “Why does this happen to me?” to knowing how you have created conditions and circumstances in your life. You will mature from a passive object, a victim of circumstance, to an active, creative subject who is fashioning his or her existence and identity. When you know how to create, you can reproduce your successes at will. You can expand your consciousness to embrace and understand Universal Truth. Instead of thinking that fortunate occurrences are “lucky” and out of your control, you will learn how to command the Universal Laws to cause mental, spiritual, and material evolution. When you make a mistake, instead of sinking into self pity, you will learn how to identify the cause and to make positive changes. You will know how to heal the conditions that plague you. You will develop greater self respect, confidence, and joy, truly becoming the director of your life.
from Shaping Your Life by Dr. Laurel Clark, copyright 1994, SOM.
copyright 2002 School of Metaphysics