It’s a can be a perilous misconception to suppose that when we create we are actually ‘doing’ something.
When I’m about to write a song, or create in any way, I often get this immediate stab of defeatism and resistance because my mind thinks it can’t do the job. The truth is that my mind is quite right! The ‘mind’ can’t write a song or give the stage performance of a lifetime because it’s a totally different part of our self that does those things. And I believe that ‘creative’ part of me is RECEPTIVE not ACTIVE. If the thinking mind had to play Hamlet, or write a ballad it would undoubtedly mess it up, yet when my thinking mind steps back for a moment and listens, surrenders, empties, lets the music or creativity ‘do’ me, then I’m in business.
When I write a song, I don’t try and ‘think it up’ any more than one tries to ‘think up’ an idea. It just arrives mysteriously from the emptiness and I write it down. I might strum a guitar gently, listening listening, and then imagine I hear a melody. I unhurriedly try and hum it without losing it, also without pinning it down too fast. It’s very hard, in my experience, to write something good on purpose. It’s the same process with making a ‘1 Giant Leap’ film. We can have all the great concepts we like, but it’s not until our own minds are silent and we let the footage speak to us and tell us what it wants to say, that we have a great film. And then I get to thinking that life’s like that too, isn’t it? The times when I listen to the events that are unfolding around me and let them speak to me, without constantly imposing my desires or limited intentions upon them, usually it all turns out harmoniously. When I listen to others, really listen, I am able to communicate and COMMUNE without my unconscious nonsense interfering.
The mind thinks it can help with everything. It’s like a over-keen, yapping, dog, full of good intentions, but also full of the misguided belief that it needs to control everything in order to succeed. In my experience, this goes for emotional as well as creative pursuits. We get heartbroken and our mind says ‘don’t worry! leave it to me! I’ll sort it all out! I’ll categorise how you’re feeling and make the pain go away!” But none of that ever works because this is not the domain of the mind. For all its good intentions, it is more often a liability than a help, too fear-ridden to be of any use. Ram Dass once told me “Fear says ‘I want to keep you safe’, Love says ‘you are safe’. So my conclusion is (subject to change) that I need to shut-up and listen in all areas. Let the song write itself. Let Hamlet play himself. I need to step back and let the great, invisible, creative spirit do all the work. All I have to do is take the money and the credit, of course!