Keep the rhythm of life!
The Book of Genesis in the Bible describes how God created the entire universe in six days and He took time to rest on the seventh day. Even during the six days of creative interventions God took a good night’s rest: “It was evening and it was morning, the second day”. He abstained from work during the time between evening and morning, that is, during the night. Let us not be carried away by the controversial discussions on the meaning of “six days” of God, instead focus on the attitudes of God, the supreme CREATOR. The Genesis story suggests that the Creator keeps rhythm for His daily life. He also follows a schedule for His weeks. God, the Creator, leads a perfectly disciplined life! The people of Israel incorporated this discipline of God into their social life and celebrated “Sabbath”, “Sabbatical Year”, “Jubilee Year”, etc. Every other community of the world stands inspired by the Divine schedules and has embedded a similar rhythm of work and relaxation into their calendars.
Rhythm of life and creativeness
Is a rhythm of life an important prerequisite for creative living? Is it not true that the creative people often transcend into a mysterious world of timelessness? Is it not true that the passion of their hearts sustains them without food or sleep for many days at a stretch? Such events are often reported in the life of creative minds, including poets, prophets, scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Tagore habitually lost his consciousness overwhelmed by the sight of monsoon clouds. Prophet Moses spent days in ecstasy as he was passionately waiting for the Commandments of God. Scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs indulge in passionate expectation of the new for days. However, such transcendence from the world of time and schedule was an exceptional “excited state” of life. They always descended from the mountain of their peak experiences to the valley of “normal state” of life. The masters mostly followed a creative schedule and routine of daily life that rendered their creativeness sustainable.
There are tragic stories of the genii who have lost their creativeness completely upon forsaking a rhythm of life. They were like meteors that appear in the sky and vanish as we look at them. They were short-lived. Their creativeness was short-lived. Creative ecstasies often led them astray, to carry the misconception that they were super-humans. They were often trapped in the existential hollowness. Many turned depressive and lost the sap of their lives. Their wells of creativity soon dried up. They turned disillusioned and inert. Their creativeness met with a sudden end.
I do not mean those warriors and prophets who had to surrender their lives to the mention stories of those unfortunate individuals who gave in to temptations of undisciplined life and paid for it profoundly with own lives. The list includes the anarchists and hedonists who sacrificed their life at the altar of indiscipline. It includes the celebrities who rose up to heavens as shooting stars and vanished at the same pace. It includes those genii who indulged in extravagant and addictive life-styles and got banished from the scene. Their contemporaries could only pity them rather than being inspired by them. Had they disciplined their lives, they could have been more effective and creative in a sustainable manner.
Masters have proven that a creative living need not be a life sans discipline or order. They were not just “mad” after innovation. They existed not only in the ecstatic “excited states” of life. They also regularly descended to the world of realities and experienced them. They were careful to keep a rhythm of life. Thanks to it they could keep them away from “burn outs”. Their wells kept swelling with water of creativeness and their sap of life remained.
Why creative minds need to be Disciplined?
Creativity is like calling something into “being” out of nothing, ex Nihilo! One needs to expend one’s own “being” or “existence” for the purpose. Creation is in this sense “existential”. Procurement of something could be done using one’s “having”; it does not require one’s “being”. Nothing “existential” is lost in such bartering. In creative living, on the other hand, one regularly expends one’s own “being”. It demands regular replenishment as a prerequisite. Otherwise, the wells of creativity dry up. The sap of life is spent. It burns out. Hence, sustenance of creativeness requires regular nourishment of the “being”. The food for “being” includes reflection, meditation, prayer, etc.
There are some who always complain about their lack of time for such nourishments. They are permanently busy. Such people are seldom creative. They do not have time for anything – not to say to create something new. They have no time to see, listen, taste, touch or smell. They are not sensitive. They may be good for administering over what is already created and innovated by others. They rather preserve what is already created and maintain the status quo. In the absence of creative leaders institutions will eventually fail.
To be creative one needs to downshift at times. One needs to enjoy a good night’s sleep. One needs to take a day out of the weekly schedule to nourish one’s own “being”. One needs to take a few days off during the year for a total break away from what one regularly does. One may consider taking a “sabbatical year” to replenish and refresh. One may consider celebrating a “Jubilee Year” to start all over again. All these may be painful, but necessary for sustained creative living. One should learn to properly space the work and relaxation schedules.
How to nourish creative minds?
Creative minds are nourished through sensitization. They need to take time to pass over vicissitudes of life. Experiential pass over is the key. That alone enriches the “being”, preparing fertile ground for creative sprouts. Let me quote from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible: “There is an appointed time for everything; And there is a time for every event under heaven: A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecc. 3:1-15).
An experiential journey through different polemics of life, according to the author of Ecclesiastes, is a chartered journey. It all happens at “appointed times”, according to a plan and schedule. There is an inherent rhythm to their occurrence. They are but instances of nourishment of the “being”, nourishment of the soul. A creative person shall yearn for such creative chaos in life.
Chaos is defined as an apparent disorder in mathematics. They may appear to be absolute disorder for the simple-minded. For them, it is sheer disorder, utter confusion and absolute nothing. But a creative mind would invariably identify the “seeds of order” at the heart of chaos, as done by mathematicians. They would redeem order out of disorder, and would awaken new beings into existence out of such chaos. In this, they share in the creative power of God, who called everything into existence out of sheer chaos, ex Nihilo.
Creative minds master chaos within them and surrounding them and bring about order. A chaotic mind is incapable of it. Only properly disciplined creative minds soaked in the existential experience would reign over chaos and create something totally new. Creativity is not the cup of tea of the wayward minds. It submits only to the creatively disciplined ones.
However, the training for creativity is totally different from “stereotyping”, “brain washing” or “indoctrinating”. It is a training to keep oneself open towards different life experiences. It is a training to sensitize. Creative and open minds will churn novelty out of chaos and communicate it in fresh ways.
Equipped with such vision Prof. C.V. Raman observed some faint lines in the spectrum before anybody else in the world had seen them. It was later called Raman Spectrum. C.V. Raman thus triggered a totally new understanding of the sub-atomic world. It also triggered invention of ‘molecular finger prints’ which defines one of the best available sensors. Luis Pastor observed discoloration of the mould sample he had prepared to “see” the presence of bacteria therein, which opened up the new world of antibiotics. Jesus of Nazareth identified love as the only supreme principle that brings about salvation in a radical way unknown to his predecessors. All of them had developed an eye to see things differently and new. All of them possessed a “third eye” with unique perspectives. It was not eyesight, rather it was insight. They lived a life of total dedication, intense tapas, rigorous discipline, and innate prayer to achieve this feat.
Education as disciplining of creative minds
Many child prodigies failed to sustain their genius and creativeness. Most of them faded away sooner than expected. They were consumed by the blackholes of emptiness in the cave of their hearts. Others got consumed in the pyre of their own desires and drives. Had they been properly disciplined in creativeness, they would have been much more effective. Had they been trained in perseverance, they would have been productive. Had they been disciplined to master the chaos of own life, they would have been sustainable in their creative careers.
The purpose of education is not just to impart knowledge acquired through ages, but also to discipline the creative minds. Education disciplines creative minds so that they may “see” the heart of the matter, explore new horizons and generate new wisdom.