Are you a Consumer or a Creator?
The Definition of a Creator
Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.” - J.R.R. Tolkien
A creator, on the other hand, is powerful. A creator shapes the world. They define their reality and have a hand in shaping the realities of others.
Tolkien, a devout Catholic, believed that the greatest thing humans could aspire to was sub-creation, because the God whose image we reflect was first and foremost a creative force (sub-creation here means anything less than actual creation of matter and reality, which was the domain of God).
So for Tolkien, the highest achievement of a human being was generating ideas, writing stories, composing symphonies, developing projects, and making something new and shiny in the world.
But maybe you're not an artist or an engineer. That's okay. Here are some non-artistic things to create:
- New relationships: Bring people together, organize events and parties, meet new people.
- Businesses: A business is basically a way to create and share value with others.
- People: Having and raising a family is pretty much the most fundamental form of creation out there.
- Theories for understanding the natural world: Science is a wonderfully creative process approached in the right way.
- Connections between ideas: Just because you're an avid reader doesn't mean you're a passive consumer, as long as you're actively engaged in the text and make an effort to expand its meaning and application.
- New experiences: Do something you're afraid of, or something you've never done before.
Of course, traditionally creative pursuits can provide a lot of value, even to those who don't make a living selling their writing or art. The reason art therapy is effective, I believe, is because it allows disempowered people a chance for self-expression.
The Wonders of Creation
The benefits an individual can experience as a result of focusing on creative pursuits are quite powerful. Your spirit is validated because it is allowed to shape reality in a way that is in accord with its personal direction.
Take a moment to imagine something you'd like to see happen. Maybe you want to form a relationship with a particularly amazing person. Maybe you want to write a novel. Maybe you want to have a family. Maybe you want to climb a mountain or hike the Continental Divide.
Close your eyes and think about how you might feel if that dream were an accomplished reality. Really fill in the details of the moment it happens.
Feel's pretty good, huh?
Now imagine how much better it would feel if it were real. You would feel on top of the world. You would feel validated because the world had allowed your dream to come into being. Then you could take that energy and confidence and create something even bigger and more astounding. You could literally change the world.
That's why it's important to focus on creation, rather than consumption: every small thing you create is the world validating your ideas.
This reinforces the belief that we are powerful, potent actors in the world, rather than passive bearers. The next time you aspire to do something, big or small, you feel that much more able to make it happen.
You can look back on the thing you have made and think, "I made that. There's a piece of me in the world. No matter what happens, I've made a mark."
Then, remind yourself that nothing is permanent (Buddha palm to the face!), and go on to make the next thing anyway, because that's what it means to be alive, that's what it means to be a true Spiritual Warrior.
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Photo credit: Suus Wansink on Flickr