Gazing at a piece of artwork on the wall, my friend self deprecatingly commented, “I’m not very creative.” Her statement surprised me, as I’d always thought of her as a highly creative person. So often people put the word “creativity” in a box, along with the word “artistic,” and then consider themselves outside that category.
Years ago I had what was, for me, a profound experience that taught me about creativity and energy. In the mid 1990’s my husband, Krishnadas, and I lived in Texas, directing Ananda Dallas. We had a small team of four, along with member volunteers helping to run everything. One of my tasks was the production of a quarterly program guide. This involved creating a full schedule of classes and events, writing and then designing the catalog. It consumed large amounts of time and energy, as I took the whole project through, from beginning to end, every three months. It certainly did stretch me, for this was on top of teaching classes, giving Sunday Services, counseling and interacting with people in many ways. At key times during the program guide process I would be at the computer up to 11 hours a day.
After several years, changes in our staff and directions meant that we didn’t need a complex program guide anymore. Suddenly, I was left with a gap where an all-consuming job had been. I found I had a surplus amount of creative energy. It began expressing itself in interesting ways, some which were familiar to me, and others quite unexpected. For instance, I began fixing the computers in techie ways I hadn’t known I could, came up with new systems for the office, organized more social events, and re-designed and decorated the teaching center.
This cascade of energy coming through me made me realize two things: how inextricably interwoven energy and creativity are; and that we can never take personal credit for what flows through us. The more energy we put out, the more dynamically creativity can flow through us. If we’re open to it, God can then use us in whatever way is needed at the moment. This was obvious to me, as computers and office systems are not something I’ve ever been versed in.
Paramhansa Yogananda said that we have enough energy in the tip of our little finger to light up Chicago for a week. He also talked about how energy in the spine has to express itself. Our job is to learn how to continually channel it in an uplifting, soul enhancing direction.
Chakras are energy centers in the spine. They impeccably record and reflect our level of consciousness, which then dictates how we express ourselves. Each chakra carries attitudes and qualities that enhance, or inhibit, our ability to rise spiritually, and be positively creative. Energy does not, in itself, have an opinion on how it is expressed, whether positive or unconstructive. It simply goes in whatever way we direct it. The thing is, we’ve been developing and grooming certain traits for lifetimes. Some are energy enhancing; others block the flow in the spine. Most of them have become so habitual that we are not even conscious of them. They are, however, in every moment, affecting everything we think, say and how we act.
Swami Kriyananda came out of his office one day, while in the midst of writing music for “Christ Lives, an Oratorio.” Obviously still totally absorbed, he gazed abstractedly at Devi for a moment. Noticing this, she quipped, “You look like you’re trying to figure out if I’m an E sharp or B flat!” He later told a group that there was a bit of truth in the statement – he was so completely immersed in the project that he related to everything around him in terms of the language of music. Swamiji’s creativity has brought joy and upliftment to thousands in this world.
We can harmonize and increase the energy flow in our spine by learning to “tune in” to the chakras and use techniques to release detrimental blockages. Generating the positive energy of our chakras gives access to great amounts of creativity. Swami Kriyananda is a constant example of taking both to the highest level. He has used God’s creativity and boundless energy in limitless ways: founding communities, writing books, plays, songs, teaching, singing, lecturing, counseling, and creatively being a disciple and friend to all.
The secret? He puts full, focused, energy into everything he does, with no holds barred. Devi and the b flat is an amusing anecdote, but Swamiji has for years shown us these principles in myriad ways. We all have this infinite potential within. A woman in a chakra class I taught commented, “This is the first time I feel as though I understand how my energy moves through my body.” Awareness is the first step in consciously accessing the creative source.
The experience in Dallas made me realize that creativity isn’t about me, my talents or lack there of. It’s all about God’s energy flowing through me. My choice is to cultivate the highest level of consciousness I can, and stay alert as to how He wants to use that energy.
Within me lies the energy to accomplish all that I will to do. Behind my every act is God’s infinite power.
O Cosmic Energy, vitalize all the cells of my body; recharge my mind with boundless inspiration; fill my soul with Thy inexhaustible joy.
From Affirmations for Self Healing by Swami Kriyananda
Nayaswami Mantradevi is a Lightbearer, teacher and artist at Ananda Village. She teaches a five-day course, “Creativity and Opening Your Chakras,” at the Expanding Light, http://www.expandinglight.org/workshops/spritual-growth/creativity-with-your-chakras.php.
To see her artwork go to www.expandingarts.com.