I mentioned in my previous post that integration is the basis for health. I explained integration as a situation where all the differentiated parts are linked together and the information between these parts flow in a flexible, free and harmonious way. So when a brain or a relationship is well-integrated and therefore healthy ,then all of the different centres, each dealing with a unique information or function, are connected and the information flows between them is flexible, free and harmonious. To understand the dynamics of living creative and healthy life some have suggested a “river of integration” as a metaphor for our flow through life in which the central flow of the river the movement of harmony, and the banks of the river represents the states of chaos and rigidity when we are not in an integrated flow. I should mention that integration is not a state we arrive at and then stay there for ever; rather the integration is a life long process, not a final product. Our life continuously flows and unfolds towards intentional integration but never reaches a fixed endpoint, so we are truly on a journey of growth, understanding and wisdom.
If we are always in the middle of the river where one is fully integrated, life would flow along without much stress or upheaval. In real life the opportunities for growth, creativity,understanding and wisdom comes when we move towards both banks of the river of integration, towards chaos and rigidity; but not get stuck there for long periods of time. On the banks there is uncertainty of chaos and rigidity, one has to be open to see reality in a new way and discover new solutions or insights for growth and creativity.
The romantic notion of an artist’s having to suffer personal pain and turmoil to produce wonderful art is dispelled with careful studies of their inclination and output. The artistic expression is only one form of creativity; here we are viewing creativity as a much larger concept. It includes not only the outward production of art but also includes a deep inward experience of living a creative life. What does it mean to live a deep creative life? It is a notion of way of being. It is being receptive and open to ourselves and others; ready to receive and ready to connect; it means letting go of preexisting judgements and expectations; it means experiencing energy flow within us which give rise to fresh perception, new perspective, and spontaneous gesture. It means having a mindful awareness. It means open to experience as it arises without being swept up by judgements or automatic processes that dominate our perceptions of the whole.We have an habitual inclination to avoid sensing and experiencing with a fresh and open mind, perhaps to gain a sense of control and certainty. But we need to embrace uncertainty. Learning to thrive with uncertainty is the root of creativity.
Sometimes we get stuck in familiar and repetitive habits that becomes our imprisonment ( cohesive way of being). We may have a fixed view of ourselves which is cohesive and logical stating who we are and why we are here but not being open to further change; we may experience repeated uncontrollable emotions and impulsive reaction to others which overwhelms us and we pass it off as “hot under the collar” or we may put it down to ” prone to meltdown or rages”. This kind of repeated behaviour gives us rigid patterns to our personality that keep us stuck in rigidity and chaos. The allure to staying in these pattern is certainty and familiarity of the same behaviour; an attempt to avoid uncertainty. But it is destructive and often create impediment to health and creativity.
In mindful awareness one has to be open and present , in the “here and now” ; the experiences in this way of being are not controllable, not certain, and often not familiar. It requires courage to face the unknown and not withdraw into the familiar destructive habits. Dr . Daniel J. Siegel in his book Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology puts it this way…
…” Applying this approach to integration is a creative act from the inside out. Living creatively is not about creating a product, but living a life fully present and open to things as they are. Living creatively is also filled with the thrill of possibility and the gratitude for this miracle of being alive. As the self emerges in these new ways with integration, being generous and kind is a natural outcome – towards others, and with ourselves. Beginning with ourselves and extending our open mind to others, integration becomes a way of being present that opens the doors to healthy and creative ways of being in the world.”
Daniel J. Siegel -Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology
- Creativity Can Keep You Healthy (everydayhealth.com)
- my romantic sandbox mandala (bluelilystorm.wordpress.com)
- A bias against creativity? (cnn.com)
- Riding the Wave of Uncertainty (carolynswords.wordpress.com)
- Is there a bias against creativity? Repost from CNN (creativityland.ca)
- The Unpredictable Freedom and Sweetness of Chaos (yogafulday.com)