To me, creativity and desire – specifically the desire to create – are inextricable. I sometimes literally cannot stop my brain from processing art I want to make or working out solutions for current pieces. Even during meditation (when I’m not “supposed to be thinking”), I often experience visual chaos that translates to art forms. I have written about creativity a few times in these blogs (here and here) but I’m constantly updating my feelings and thoughts about the how, what and why of my own creative process.
I have recently been reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. In Chapter 6, she discusses the 1st noble truth of Buddha, that existence is inherently unsatisfying. Part of the reason for this – according to Buddha – is that everything in life is transitory, impermanent and that “we perpetually lean into the next moment hoping that it will offer the satisfaction that the present moment does not.” This of course turns into a ‘tomorrow never comes’ problem because as the next moment becomes the transitory present moment, your desire for ‘more’ or ‘different’ starts all over again.
This is also where I say “Hold on there a sec Gautama” … my desire drives me to that next moment and I like it! I crave it. Like many people. my creative process is the antithesis of linear. There are grinding periods of confusion where tiny morsels of insight dribble out. On the other end, there is a lightning bolt of inspiration, the consummation of a subconscious mind working the problem while I’m sleeping or making enchiladas. In the middle, there are periods of “I don’t know Jack,” and nothing moves forward. As a piece nears completion, the creativity fades because in my mind, it’s complete. Now I’m a craftsperson finishing a job. Sorry, but that’s reality.
That’s when the creativity and desire combo kicks in. You’re damn right I’m not satisfied with the present moment. Time for the next piece … this one already belongs to someone else, I’m finished with it. Time to restart the creative clock.