What is creativity?

It is my experience that when people talk about creativity, it is difficult to understand whether they are talking about creativity or manipulation. Manipulation is the art of handling skills and knowledge. The expression of it may seem creative, but it could just be technique. Manipulation of knowledge is mere utility. Creativity is what comes from the heart. When there is love in your heart, then skill and knowledge will be used creatively. Also, when there is need to demonstrate creativity, skill and knowledge will evolve automatically. Take the poet Kabir for example. He did not know how to read and write. But you can still see with what beauty and skill he has used language to express his thought.

For creativity to unfold there is need for space. The first necessity to be creative is silence and peace in mind. When there is noise and clutter, created by thoughts of the past or the future, or by the desires and ambitions within us, then creativity cannot develop. There is no space for the mind to play. When one is in a vocation or profession by choice, then one’s mind is free of expectations and then the work is done with complete patience and love. Then creativity can be expressed. If your profession is not voluntary, if one has been forced into it, then the implementation of action becomes non-creative, confused action.

Creativity exists inside each of us. It is the fire inside. It is not something you can see easily in everyone because it is clouded by smoke – the smoke of ambition, desire – the ego. For the mind to be able to perceive, it must be empty of things. An individual with high self-esteem moves towards self-realization and is capable of creativity. This person is not troubled by the past or the future or by personal desires, but is focused completely on the work at hand, giving it his/her best. This is not possible for a person with low self-esteem. They are constantly worried about achieving their own ambitions, or handling their own fears. They are not able to concentrate on what they are doing. Then where is the space for creativity?

A teacher in class needs to be aware of their own self-esteem, and conscious of not only their self-respect, but also that of the students. This does not mean that one keeps the “me” in focus. That is only the ego talking. If one looks at self-respect only in context of “me”, they are operating from low self-esteem. Then all you see is the smoke, not the fire within. The teacher has to build towards higher self-esteem. To do this, they must be aware of the power they have, the capacity they have to impact others. The true teacher is like the magnifying glass. All who come under it are changed by it. Whether the change is for the better or not is up to the teacher. If s/he focuses only on enhancing the intellect, then the student acquires IQ, which is man-made. This gives clarity of information, but not revelation. But the original intelligence, which is wisdom – this will lead you to revelation.

This does not mean that information and knowledge is not needed. It is important to develop the IQ of students. Both are needed – be it IQ or EI (emotional intelligence). The integration of both leads to spirituality. In the absence of IQ, man is animalistic. In the absence of EI, man is like a machine. They are separated by a thin curtain – the curtain of care. It is a simple formula – mix IQ and EI with Care and Love, and everything will be creative. That is all that is required.

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