“O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?”
– William Butler Yeats
When I admire a beautiful work of art or music, such as Monet’s Water Lilies and Chopin’s Nocturnes, I cannot help but wonder – who is the true creator of this work? In a way, there is ultimately no separation between the artist and the artwork (or the composer and the composition) as they are made by the same creator. There is only one source of creativity that is expressing itself in a multitude of forms through its own creations.
Creation is an ongoing process in which everything is constantly being created and destroyed in this temporal world. Just look at the wild geese in flight, the dance of leaves caught in the wind and the ripples on the surface of the lake – there is not a moment that is identical to next. Similarly, in our lives, both our external and internal states are constantly changing. Though there is constant evolution and apparent separation between different life forms, there is a common thread that runs throughout all of creation – the imprint of the one creator. In the words of Mary Oliver, “there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else.” All of life is sustained by the same source of creation.
As creations of God, we are gifted with the power to co-create. Yet, we are too often consumed by hubris and we forget that this creative ability does not originate from us. Nothing that we create is truly our personal accomplishment. Even things that we label as man-made are merely creations that we have been enabled to create. In addition, we often forget that everything we create is intimately connected to everything else. As a result, we often misuse our creative ability for our personal benefit at the expense of others.
Our intention to create must be aligned with the intention of the universe to create through us. Only then can we create things with collective benefits that are sustainable. True creativity stems from an attitude of humility and surrender. The only step we have to take is to lean into the source of creativity and allow for its expression through our individual gifts and talents. What we create is inextricably linked to all of creation and we will bear the brunt of our own creations in the end. In the words of Mary Oliver, “the pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves – we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other’s destiny.”
p.s. Leave a comment if this resonated with you. I love to hear your stories!
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What an excellent article–insightful and rich! Thank you for sharing with us! Namaste
Everything may be a path but some paths should be avoided.
Nice post. Bob
You write like a true Buddhist. Hope you find enlightment without suffering. Namaste.