‘This is what creative engagement is about—it’s very much connected with change. Experiential inquiry helps us to be clearer about what’s going on, but also to respond more creatively.’
As a music therapist, I like the idea of responding creatively to life, perhaps as a way of engaging with our challenges in a new way, or by sharing experiences of joy and belonging with others. Whether we sing in a choir, or spend a day meditating with others in silence, we are creating a safe space in our lives to approach our difficulties in a new way. Both are in their essence non-verbal practices, which help us to step outside our thinking mind and surrender a little to the moment by moment flow of experience.
Young children are masters at creatively engaging with life. They practise new skills, problem solve, learn about life and explore relationships through playing games, story-telling, drawing, singing, and so on. Children don’t have the intellectual capacity to solve problems in the way we do, which can be a disadvantage for them, but this also enables their learning to be free from the constraints of long-standing habits. Albert Einstein is said to have remarked that ‘we can’t solve our problems with the same thinking which created them’, and this can be one of the challenges when we reach adulthood. We sometimes try to solve complex problems intellectually, rather than grounding our response in a more holistic framework.
When we watch someone sitting in a meditation posture, it may appear quite static and still. The process of meditation, however, is anything but static. There is a sense of flow to the experience of meditation. When we meditate over a long time, we find ourselves engaging differently with our lives. Meditation can indeed be creative – exploring new and novel ways of being present in our lives.
Set aside 20 or more minutes, and choose a creative activity such as singing, listening to music, drawing, dancing or listening to a story. What do you notice about engaging in a creative activity? How do you feel afterwards?