Episode 21: Awakening the Creative

Sep 9, 2015

In this episode, Stewart Cubley leads a live discussion at a recent retreat, exploring the potential for awakening using the tool of process painting.

An excerpt from Awakening the Creative . . .

There is an awakening aspect in this work and it’s not something that you have to learn. It’s already there, but it needs to be awakened or it’s gotten a little rusty — or we haven’t used it or it got buried at a certain point. And so we have to set up the conditions for that awakening, and one of the conditions is not giving you a direction, because then it puts you in this soup. You’re faced with what you do, with what shows up in the painting. You’re faced with that and there’s no measuring stick. There’s no one behind you saying, “Oh, do it this way; it will be a little bit better.” There’s no comparison going on, and we even ask people not to make comments on each others’ work. So you’re left in this open space without any evaluation, and that’s a necessary condition for this quality of awakening.

And what is it that awakens? It’s an interesting question. What’s the possibility here? I was taking to Alexis last night, and you said something like, “I don’t have any drawing skills. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. This is not my thing.” And I was telling you it’s not about painting; it’s not about drawing. We’re using the tools but it’s about something else. It’s about awakening this spontaneous intelligence that everyone has. We had it as kids, and we can recognize that we still have access to it, and that it’s still alive. It can support us and function in our lives, and it goes way beyond painting.

The painting is a tool. And if you look at it that way then you settle in and your realize: I don’t have to be an artist. I don’t have to learn technique. I don’t have to make it look good. It’s more about the experience of awakening the spontaneous aspect of our consciousness. When you do that, it’s very satisfying; there’s something completely mesmerizing about that. You’ll find yourself, at some point in the week, just unable to unglue yourself from your painting — you just keep looking at your painting, because you feel so connected with it. So our interaction with you is going to be to support you to stay in the soup. “Staying in the soup” means being willing to not know where you are going and be willing to not draw conclusions about it.

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