While on a trip recently, I came across a street food vendor going about his daily routine making food for people. I was in awe of how creative he was at his job. He didn’t look at the job as a menial task. He was doing it with love, almost as if it was a dance. He was so engrossed in his task that his job had turned into a work of art. It seemed as if he wasn’t preparing food but leaving an invisible artwork in everyone’s plate. People glued to their phones nearby hardly noticed that this vendor has a unique way of preparing his dish. The world didn’t care about his work. He wasn’t going to win any awards for his creativity nor was he going to be in tomorrow’s news for how he was doing what he was doing. He was just an extra in the movie of the people present there, to be forgotten by history. But that was irrelevant. That didn’t seem to deter his childlike enthusiasm. I was watching poetry in motion and it reminded me of the words by the French football manager Arsène Wenger when had said, “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art. What makes daily life interesting is that we try to transform it to something that is close to art.”
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Watching the food vendor made me realise how creativity is what this world desperately needs. Our world is sick, and it does not need more successful, rich or famous people. It has enough of them already. It is in desperate need of creative people; people who make life a work of art with just their presence. Bringing such creativity into your everyday life gives you an inner growth. It becomes nearly impossible to remain the same person once you start living from that creative space because that space is sacred. Creativity is spiritual.
Psychologists Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and Jeanne Nakamura described this as the flow state of mind. It is when you are completely engrossed while performing an activity. You experience an energized focus and enjoyment in the process. When you become creative, you achieve a flow state of mind. This is because you love what you are doing and when an activity comes out of love, it becomes art. This is why food prepared with passion and love tastes so good. There is no secret ingredient. It is just creativity that breathes taste into the food.
This flow state described by psychology is nothing but a Zen state of mind. When you become creative, entering a Zen state of mind is easy. There are thousands of Spiritual souls including many Buddhist monks who draw the most intricate mandala art. These people recognise the power of creativity in Spirituality. By loving the process of creating the mandala art, their mind becomes quiet and they enter a meditative state. The outside world dissolves and they are left with just the art. You become mindful of the present moment when creativity peaks inside your being.
When you are inherently creative, anything you do becomes creative. When you walk, you exude creativity. When you talk, every word spoken sounds articulate and beautiful. When you do nothing, then even that nothingness can echo creativity. A monk contributes nothing to society when he is meditating, but his whole act of nothingness is the highest form of creativity.
Most people live their lives thinking that they are not creative enough because they associate creativity with various activities. But understand that creativity has nothing to do with a particular task. Creativity could be more than just painting, sculpting, poetry or dance. Anything you do can become creative as long as it comes out of a place of love. When that happens, the whole act of creation becomes a celebration. Even something as simple as mowing your lawn or sweeping the floor could become meditative. The task itself may not be creative but the devotion and quality you bring to it moves your soul. It is an inner approach and a way of looking at the outside world.
There is no need for everyone in the world to become a poet or a an artist, but there is a need for everyone to be creative. When you do something, not for the benefits that come with it, but for the sheer joy of doing it, then you experience a certain spiritual growth within you. That is divine; and the more creativity you start channeling, the more divine you become.
God is often called as the creator and the omnipresent force behind everything. So by being creative and loving what you do, in a way you become the creator. By entering a Zen state while doing everything in your daily life, you are closer to God. In this state, whatever you do almost becomes prayer like.
Children achieve a meditative state easily because every child is inherently creative. When you see a child pay with a toy, he is so involved in the process of playing that it becomes meditative. But as they grow up, external conditioning from society destroys this inherent creativity. Somebody has rightly said that “The creative adult is the child who survived.” A child’s mind has no limits and you witness creativity freely flowing without boundaries but adults seem completely stuck and uncreative. With bills to pay, mouths to feed and a life to live, adults lose touch with this divine force. Creativity is thus replaced with goals and you are brainwashed into directing your energies into activities that society rewards. When you always have one eye on the future, creativity disappears. You no longer do things for the joy of it, you do it to achieve a target. Adults thus slip out of the meditative state they carried as a child and become robotic.
You only have to realise that everyone is born creative. Society destroys that creativity. Nobody is born uncreative, but the creative force is stifled out of you. Even animals and plants are just as creative in their own unique ways. The good news is that you can reclaim the power back by breaking free of the external conditioning. Unplug the creative force that has been blocked within you. Your natural state of being itself is creative. You merely have to revert back to your factory settings. When you let go of the conditioning and begin to rewire your brain, you begin to live from that sacred creative space. You will live an intrinsically fulfilled life. You do not have to achieve big things. Even small acts of kindness can be a creative act. When you channel the creativity within you again, you enhance the beauty of this world because your very being is anchored in the divine. Everything you do becomes meditative and you leave behind love. Like the street food vendor in our story, nobody is going to remember you. You won’t be spoken about in the morning news and you might just be an extra in someone’s movie. But when you leave, you would leave the world a better place.