The Creative act a way of being summary Author says those who do not engage in the traditional arts might be wary of calling themselves artists. They might perceive creativity as something extraordinary or beyond their capabilities. A calling for the special few who are born with these gifts. Fortunately, this is not the case. Creativity is not a rare ability. It is not difficult to access. Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human. It’s our birthright. And it’s for all of us.
The Creative Act : A Way of Being By Rick Rubin
Summary of The Creative Act : A way of Being By Rick Rubin
Creativity doesn’t exclusively relate to making art. We all engage in this act on a daily basis. To create is to bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. It could be a conversation, the solution to a problem, a note to a friend, the rearrangement of furniture in a room, a new route home to avoid a traffic jam. What you make doesn’t have to be witnessed, recorded, sold, or encased in glass for it to be a work of art. Through the ordinary state of being, we’re already creators in the most profound way, creating our experience of reality and composing the world we perceive.
To live as an artist is a way of being in the world. A way of perceiving. A practice of paying attention. Refining our sensitivity to tune in to the more subtle notes. Looking for what draws us in and what pushes us away. Noticing what feeling tones arise and where they lead.
Think of the universe as an eternal creative unfolding. Trees blossom. Cells replicate. Rivers forge new tributaries. The world pulses with productive energy, and everything that exists on this planet is driven by that energy.
Look around you: there are so many remarkable accomplishments to appreciate. Each of these is humanity being true to itself, as a hummingbird is true to itself by building a nest, a peach tree by bearing fruit, and a nimbus cloud by producing rain.
Every nest, every peach, every raindrop, and every great work is different. Some trees may appear to make more beautiful fruits than others, and some humans may appear to compose greater works than others. The taste and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.
If you have an idea you’re excited about and you don’t bring it to life, it’s not uncommon for the idea to find its voice through another maker. This isn’t because the other artist stole your idea, but because the idea’s time has come.
In most of our daily activities we choose the agenda and develop a strategy to achieve the goal at hand. We create the program. Awareness moves differently. The program is happening around us. The world is the doer and we are the witness. We have little or no control over the content.
The gift of awareness allows us to notice what’s going on around and inside ourselves in the present moment. And to do so without attachment or involvement. We may observe bodily sensations, passing thoughts and feelings, sounds or visual cues, smells and tastes.
Awareness is not a state you force. There is little effort involved, though persistence is key. It’s something you actively allow to happen. It is a presence with, and acceptance of, what is happening in the eternal now.
The universe is only as large as our perception of it. When we cultivate our awareness, we are expanding the universe.
Look for Clues
Material for our work surrounds us at every turn. It’s woven into conversation, nature, chance encounters, and existing works of art. When looking for a solution to a creative problem, pay close attention to what’s happening around you. Look for clues pointing to new methods or ways to further develop current ideas.
When something out of the ordinary happens, ask yourself why. What’s the message? What could be the greater meaning?
An integral part of the artist’s work is deciphering these signals. The more open you are, the more clues you will find and the less effort you’ll need to exert. You may be able to think less and begin to rely on answers arising within you.
When clues present themselves, it can sometimes feel like the delicate mechanism of a clock at work. As if the universe is nudging you with little reminders that it’s on your side and wants to provide everything you need to complete your mission.
Nature As Teacher
Of all the great works that we can experience, nature is the most absolute and enduring. We can witness it change through the seasons. We can see it in the mountains, the oceans, the deserts, and the forest. We can watch the changes of the moon each night, and the relationship between the moon and the stars.
Nature transcends our tendencies to label and classify, to reduce and limit. The natural world is unfathomably more rich, interwoven, and complicated than we are taught, and so much more mysterious and beautiful. Deepening our connection to nature will serve our spirit, and what serves our spirit invariably serves our artistic output.
The closer we can get to the natural world, the sooner we start to realize we are not separate. And that when we create, we are not just expressing our unique individuality, but our seamless connection to an infinite oneness.
Nothing is Static
The world is always changing. You can engage in the same awareness practice five days in a row in the same location and have a unique experience each time. Different sounds and different smells may be present. No two gusts of wind feel quite the same. The tone and quality of sunlight changes from minute to minute and day to day.
You can’t step into the same stream twice because it’s always flowing. Everything is. The world is constantly changing, so no matter how often we practice paying attention, there will always be something new to notice. It’s up to us to find it.
We are always changing, growing, evolving. We learn and forget things. We move through different moods, thoughts, and unconscious processes. The cells in our body die and regenerate. No one is the same person all day long.