creative cycle: ecstasy of the endgame

10 Aug

The great religious mystics achieve a consciousness of G-d which envelops them and fills them.  Theirs is a unity with the Creator which represents a profound level of self-nullification and a profound revelation of ultimate Wisdom.  Our mystics transcend the mundane aspects of physical life – eating, sleeping, intimate relations. The mystic is completed, finished, absorbed in the Holy Light of G-d.

As an artist you have a unique creative partnership with G-d.  Your creative process will lead you to the same moments of ecstatic revelation that religious mystics experience through their intense study and meditation.

This potential in the creative personality for great joy, even ecstatic joy, is realized most often as we reach the final stages of a project.  We have done a great deal of conceptual thinking, we have repeated our concepts over and over, like a prayer, to solidify them and draw them into the final physical forms of expression.  We have wrestled with new learning and honed old and new techniques.  After walking for days, or weeks, or months in darkness (groping in the dark) – we see light.  We are finally fitting elements together.  The project is revealing its dramatic themes.  Every stroke now puts new shine on the finished work – we are powerful – effectively and fluidly expressing concept into form.  We are masters of creation.

This experience of satisfaction in the final stages of a project is something to relish.  It is rewarding at an equal or greater level with public recognition.  But the wise artist holds some small part of his mind apart from this exuberance of the endgame.  She remains grounded somehow, even as her spirit is taking flight.  For there are some pitfalls to avoid, some misconceptions to be cognizant of, as we proceed in the final stages of projects.

We should be aware that our knowledge is not complete, our technique not perfected.  The truth we have revealed in this project is partial.  It is our obligation to catch ourselves – to draw ourselves back down to earth, to prepare ourselves for the next project, for the next long or short walk in darkness.  As we experience the joy in completing projects, we might find ourselves polishing endlessly our work.  We can find something new to enhance the work and we have the “midas” touch.  But the wise artist becomes skillful at choosing the moment to say “I can move on now” or “I will return to this again someday”.

For ultimately, our job as creative partners with G-d is not to be continuously finishing something, or to bask permanently in a sense of personal fulfillment or completion.  Rather, our task is to engage over and over, for as long as we are given, in the total process of creation.  We must return again to the early stages of struggle – conceiving something new, articulating conception, engaging in new learning, refining new and established technique.

But each time you return to the beginning, you carry a light that is burning a bit brighter – an awareness, a certainty, that the moments of completion will come again, and you can look forward to infinitely greater levels of revelation.  And in this knowledge the joy of the endgame will more and more extend into every stage of your project’s development, even into the darkest, most confused moments.

Spark on.


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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in creative cycle


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