Creativity is the highest peak of your consciousness; hence it is painful, arduous. You are going uphill. To be uncreative is comfortable; it is a downward journey. You need not do anything, nothing is needed on your part; the gravitational pull is enough. When you are coming down from the hill, you can just turn your car engine off; the car will go on rolling down. If you are going uphill, effort is needed.
Many things have to be dropped when you are moving upward; unnecessary weights have to be dropped. And you are carrying so much luggage; it is all unnecessary, it is useless. But people go on collecting, people are collectors. They will collect any kind of rubbish, hoping that someday it will prove of some use. They are greedy and they feel empty, so they go on stuffing themselves with every kind of thing. You are so full of ego and ego is a great weight. You cannot move upward. You will have to put the ego aside, and that is the greatest pain.
To be a creator means you drop the very idea ‘I am separate from existence’. Creation happens only when you are one with existence, when you are so in tune with the Creator that there is no disturbance from your side. The greatest disturbance comes from the ego. It nourishes itself and lives on disturbance. Ego means the idea ‘I am separate’. If you think you are separate, you are living a lie, and creativity flows out of the experience of truth. You have to know the truth, that you are not separate. No man is an island; we are all part of one vast continent. The whole existence is one organic unity; hence all that is great has come out only in those moments when the creator was dissolved into the whole.
Great paintings, great poems, great music, great dance, all happen only when you are dissolved, when you are no more. If you are, suddenly you become the block, you stop the flow. Then existence cannot use you as a flute, cannot sing through you. The flute has to be just a hollow bamboo, just an open space, just a vehicle. Great poets, great musicians, great dancers, are all vehicles. They don’t dance, they are being danced. They don’t sing, some unknown energy sings through them.
That’s why creativity is painful, because nobody wants to melt and merge and dissolve. We cling to our identities. In fact, we want to be creative so that we can hang a few more awards around our egos, so the ego can become more famous, so that you can say, “I am somebody special. I am a great poet or a great composer or a great author” — that’s the greatest problem faced by any creator: that he has to drop ego.
In the beginning it is for the ego that you want to be creative. It is paradoxical: you have to drop the very ego that was the impetus in the beginning, that wanted to be famous, that wanted to make history. That very same ego becomes the cause of stopping the flow of unknown energies in you. Otherwise, existence is always pouring; you have just to be open, available, not to be separate.
In Zen they have an ancient tradition. If you want to become a painter, for 12 years learn as perfectly as possible the technique of how to paint, and then for 12 years, forget the technique and do something else. Then start painting again. Learn the technique, and then unlearn. Only then one day does creativity explode.>