The Creative Process Needs Uncertainty

posted in: Vision and Creativity | 0

Certainty Ebbs and Flows

When someone places complete trust in their inspiration, in the value of a vision, he or she needs to be prepared to discover that the undeniable certainty that motivates them comes and goes. What seems obvious and leads them to leaping at one point can be hard to find or explain later, even to oneself.

The unshakable certainty that arises in creative bursts cannot be commanded or controlled, no matter how hard we try. One of the hardest parts of the visionary journey regards the rise and fall of certainty. The certitude available in high-energy creative or inspired moments is not a steady state. Finding only confusion where total clarity held sway is worse than uncomfortable.

How can someone deal with the fuzzy headed times, where certainty only flickers, without resorting to self-doubt or false bravado? He or she needs to understand they have not lost their faith or resolve. That sense of loss is not due to their lack of will or devotion. While we cannot command it, we can be faithful and alert for signs of its return. Then grab it!

This is where the “99% perspiration” come in—carrying on with the practical tasks, nonetheless. One stays engaged and ready, attentive for any pings of clarity in the peripheral vision. Some comfort might also be found in what Bertrand Russell said: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

The down times are not evidence of personal failings but of larger cycles. They may be beyond our control, but not always beyond our notice. This is where integration of gains (both inner and outer) happens—without much glamor or applause. But it is also an opportunity to deal with humdrum tasks (like mending fences, sowing, and tending the crop) that keep the endeavor on track.

A related discovery is that there is nothing one can do about it. The ego is powerless to make insights happen (that “1% inspiration” part). So, one is humbled and forced to accept that true creativity comes from outside our abilities or preparation, and always has an element of grace when it does.

That already tricky balancing act becomes trickier once someone goes public with their vision since people are watching and judging them. It is hard to learn, and then remember, that reliance on rational certainty is one of the things that must give way to “innocence of perception,” which is vital to the creative process. That is what holds the space for “I don’t know,” where originality is welcome.