Osho on Creativity

Question – Beloved Master, What is Creativity?
Osho – Deva Mohan, action is not creativity, inaction also is not creativity. Creativity is a very paradoxical state of consciousness and being: it is action through inaction, it is what Lao Tzu calls WEI-WU-WEI. It is allowing something to happen through you. It is not a doing, it is an allowing. It is becoming a passage so the whole can flow through you. It is becoming a hollow bamboo, just a hollow bamboo.

And then immediately something starts happening, because hidden behind man is god. Just give him a little way, a little passage, to come through you. That is creativity: allowing God to happen is creativity. Creativity is a religious state. That’s why I say that a poet is far closer to God than a theologian, a dancer even closer. The philosopher is the farthest away, because the more you think, the greater the wall you create between you and the whole. The more you think, the more you are. The ego is nothing but all the thoughts accumulated in the past. When you are not, God is. That is creativity.

Creativity simply means you are in a total relaxation. It does not mean inaction, it means relaxation, because out of relaxation much action will be born. But that will not be your doing, you will be just a vehicle. A song will start coming through you — you are not the creator of it, it comes from the beyond. It always comes from the beyond. When you create it, it is just ordinary, mundane. When it comes through you it has superb beauty, it brings something of the unknown in it.

When the great poet Coleridge died he left thousands of poems incomplete. Many times in his life he was asked, “Why don’t you complete these poems” — because a few poems were missing only one line or two lines. “Why don’t you complete them?”

And he would say, “I cannot. I have tried, but when I complete them something goes amiss, something goes wrong. My line never falls in tune with that which has come through me. It remains a stumbling block, it becomes a rock, it hinders the flow. So I have to wait. Whosoever has been flowing through me, whenever he again starts flowing and completes the poem it will be completed, not before it.”

He completed only a few poems. But those are of superb beauty, of great mystic splendor. That has always been so: the poet disappears, then there is creativity. Then he is possessed. Yes, that is the word, he is possessed. To be possessed by God is creativity.

Simone de Beauvoir has said, “Life is occupied both in perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying.”

And the man who is not creative is only not dying, that’s all. His life has no depth. His life is not yet life but just a preface; the book of life has not yet started. He is born, true, but he is not alive. When you become creative, when you allow creativity to happen through you, when you start singing a song that is not your own — that you cannot sign and you cannot say, “It is my own,” on which you cannot put your signature — then life take wings, it upsurges.

In creativity is the surpassing. Otherwise, at the most we can go on perpetuating ourselves. You create a child — it is not creativity. You will die and the child will be here to perpetuate life. But to perpetuate is not enough unless you start surpassing yourself. And surpassing happens only when something of the beyond comes in contact with you.

That is the point of transcendence — surpassing. And in surpassing, the miracle happens: you are not, and yet for the first time you are. The essence of wisdom is to act in harmony with nature. That is the message of all the great mystics — Lao Tzu, Buddha, Bahauddin, Sosan, Sanai — to act in harmony with nature. Animals act unconsciously in harmony with nature. Man has to act consciously in harmony with nature, because man has consciousness. Man can choose not to act in harmony, hence the great responsibility.

Man has responsibility. Only man has responsibility, that is his grandeur. No other animal is responsible — he simply acts in harmony, there is no way of going astray. The animal cannot go astray; he is not yet able to go astray, there is no consciousness yet. He functions as you function in deep sleep. In deep sleep you also fall in harmony with nature. That’s why deep sleep is so rejuvenating, so relaxing. Just a few minutes of deep sleep, and you are fresh and young again and all the dust that you had gathered and all weariness and boredom disappears. You have contacted the source.

But this is an animal way to contact the source; sleep is an animal way to contact the source. Animals are horizontal, man is vertical. When you want to go into sleep you have to fall into a horizontal position. Only in a horizontal position can you fall asleep; you cannot fall asleep standing, it will be very difficult. You have to go back again, millions of years back, just like an animal. You are horizontal, parallel to the earth, suddenly you start losing consciousness, suddenly you are no longer responsible.

It is because of this factor that Sigmund Freud chose the couch for the patient. It is not for the comfort of the patient, it is a strategy. Once the patient is horizontal he starts being irresponsible. And unless he feels utterly free to say things he will not say unconscious things. If he remains responsible and vertical he will be continuously judging whether to say a thing or not. He will be censoring.

When he is lying horizontal on the couch — and the psychoanalyst is hidden behind, you cannot see him — suddenly he is again like an animal. He has no responsibility. He starts babbling things which he would never have said to anybody, to a stranger. He starts saying things which are deep in his unconscious; those unconscious things start surfacing. It is a strategy, a Freudian strategy, to make the patient utterly helpless like a child or like an animal.

Once you don’t feel responsible you become natural. And psychotherapy has been of great help; it relaxes you. All that you have repressed surfaces, and after surfacing it evaporates. After going through psychoanalysis you become less burdened, you become more natural, you are more in harmony with nature and with yourself. That is the meaning of being healthy.

But this is going back, this is regression. This is what I was talking about the other day: going to the basement. There is another way to surpass, and that is going to the attic — not the way of Sigmund Freud but the way of Buddha. You can surpass yourself by being in contact consciously with nature. And that is the essence of wisdom — to be in harmony with nature, with the natural rhythm of the universe. And whenever you are in harmony with the natural rhythm of the universe you are a poet, you are a painter, you ar a musician. you are a dancer.

Try it. Some time sitting by the side of a tree, fall in tune consciously. Become one with nature; let boundaries dissolve. Become the tree, become the grass, become the wind — and suddenly you will see, something that has never happened to you before is happening. Your eyes are becoming psychedelic: trees are greener than they have ever been, and roses are rosier, and everything seems to be luminous. And suddenly you want to sing a song, not knowing from where it comes. Your feet are ready to dance; you can feel the dance murmuring inside your veins, you can hear the sound of music within and without.

This is the state of creativity. This can be called the basic quality: being in harmony with nature, being in tune with life, with the universe. Lao Tzu has given it a beautiful name, WEI-WU-WEI: action through inaction. You can call it “creative quietude” — a process that combines within a single individual two seeming incompatibles: supreme activity and supreme relaxation.

That’s the paradox of creativity. If you see a painter painting, certainly he is active, utterly active, madly active — he is all action. Or if you see a dander dancing, he is all action. But still, deep down there is no actor, no doer; there is only silence. Hence I called creativity the state of paradox. All beautiful states are paradoxical. The higher you go, the deeper you go into the paradox of reality.

Supreme action with supreme relaxation: on the surface great action is happening, in the depth nothing is happening, or ONLY nothing is happening. Creative quietude is the supreme action — the precious suppleness, simplicity, spontaneity and freedom that flows from us, or rather through us, when our private egos and conscious efforts yield to a power not their own.

Yielding to a power not of your own, surrendering to a power that is beyond you, is creativity. Meditation is creativity. And when the ego disappears, the wound in you disappears; you are healed, you are whole. The ego is your dis-ease. And when the ego disappears you are no more dormant, you start flowing. You start flowing with the immense flow of existence.

Norbert Weiner has said, “We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves; whirlpools of water in an ever-flowing river.”

Then you are not an ego but an event or a process of events. Then you are a process, not a thing. Consciousness is not a thing, it is a process; and we have made it a thing. The moment you call it “I” it becomes a thing — defined, bounded, dormant, stagnant. And you start dying.

The ego is your death. And the death of the ego is the beginning of your real life. And real life is creativity. You need not go to any school to learn creativity. All that you need is to go withinwards and help the ego dissolve. Don’t support it, don’t go on strengthening and nourishing it. And whenever the ego is not, all is truth, all is beautiful. And then whatsoever happens is good.

And I am not saying that you all will become Picassos or Shakespeares, I am not saying that. A few of you will become painters, a few of you will become singers, a few of you will become musicians, a few of you dancers — but that is not the point. Each of you will become creative in his own way. You may be a cook, but then there will be creativity. Or you may be just a cleaner, but then there will be creativity. There will be no boredom.

You will become inventive in small things. Even in cleaning there will be a kind of worship, a prayer. So whatsoever you do then will have the taste of creativity. And we don’t need many painters — if all turn out to be painters, life will become very difficult. We don’t need many poets; we need gardeners too, we need farmers too, and we need all kinds of people. But each person can be creative. If he is meditative and egoless then God starts flowing through him. According to his capacities, according to his potential, God starts taking forms.

And then all is good. You need not become famous. A really creative person does not care a bit about becoming famous; there is no need. He is so tremendously fulfilled in whatsoever he is doing, he is so content with whatsoever he is and wherever he is, that there is no question of desire. When you are creative, desires disappear. When you are creative, ambitions disappear. When you are creative, you are already that which you always wanted to be.

Source – Osho Book “Unio Mystica, Vol 1″

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