Your Elusive Creative Genius

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Elizabeth Gilbert talks on TED

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Author of bestselling Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses – and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person ‘being’ a genius, all of us ‘have’ a genius.

In ancient Greece and ancient Rome people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings. People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknoable source, for distant and unknowable reasons.

Quote by Osho

One great English poet, Coleridge, has left only seven poems completed, and he was one of the greatest masters. He left thousands of poems incomplete. Forty thousand in all have been calculated; only seven complete.

Just before his death somebody asked: What is the matter with you? The whole house is filled with incomplete poems, and a few poems need just a touch – the last line, or three lines are there, one line is missing. Why can’t you complete them?

Coleridge is reported to have said: Who can complete them? I have never written a single word. When I am not, then something descends. Only three lines came; I was waiting for the fourth but it never came. And I cannot complete it because it will come from a different plane of being. I was not when these three lines came, and I would be there too much when the fourth is added. I could add it, but that would be just false. It would be something imposed – it won’t have a flow, it won’t be authentic, it won’t be true. So what can I do? I can simply wait.

He waited for certain poems for twenty years, and then the line, the missing line would descend, and he would add it.

It is said about one of the greatest poets of India, Rabindranath Tagore, that whenever he would be writing a poem or painting a picture, he would become so self-conscious that he would forget to eat, he would forget to drink, he would forget to sleep. Even his wife would come but he would not be able to recognize who was standing before him. So whenever he was in a creative mood, nobody would disturb him, nobody would go near his house. He was in such a different state of being that to disturb him could be fatal. For three days, four days, even for weeks, he would not eat, he would not do anything. He had become just a vehicle.

Osho, Returning to the Source, Ch 8 – from the unpublished compilation Art Expressed through Meditation

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