The Islamic Garden
You Are Creative!
Over the years I have heard a number of people who are involved in education say that they want to discover if children and young people are creative. This made me think. Isn’t everyone creative? After some years and after meeting many people; young and old, and from many walks of life, I came to the conclusion that, indeed, everyone is creative.
Life is essentially a spiritual path and our spirituality is part of our creativity. Paul Tillich said, “Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny.” We could say that creativity is actually our true nature and from it we seek the signs in the universe and understand and perceive the greatness of the Creator and the potential within ourselves.
What happens, however, is that sometimes there are blocks to this creativity; and this might make us think that it does not exist. What we need to do is create pathways in our consciousness so as to let our creativity come through. As Muslims, we should be in close contact with our ‘creative side’ our ‘spirituality’. This is developed through our Prayers, fasting, giving to others, supplication and meditating on the signs of Almighty Allah and the meanings of the Qur`an. To different degrees we all perceive truths and understand meanings, the next step, however, is to find ways to express all of that. Writing, painting, pottery, designing, and composing can be spiritual experiences which are witnessed by those who are in touch with their own creative energy. Maybe you have listened to a speaker and been greatly ‘inspired’. What inspired you was their ‘creativity’ to express truths that you were aware of but had not articulated.
It is Almighty Allah who inspires us, who provides us with understanding and the ability to express ourselves. It is this ability that we need to develop because it does exist in each of us. It might be a case of creativity leading to spirituality or spirituality leading to creativity but either way, we should be aware of this in our life, as it enriches and fulfills.
We are human beings and part of the creation of Almighty Allah; being insightful and creative is part of our nature and something to which we should aspire. Many people wish they were more creative while many others sense they already are creative, but are unable to tap into that creativity. Like this, our lives feel somewhat flat. How often do we have unique ideas and wonderful dreams but fail to find the way to actualize them?
Once we try to develop our creativity we find ourselves on a rocky road. We may have an underlying desire to expand our creativity and try different things but at the same time, we might have the urge to abandon the whole process and return to life as we know it.
Brenda Ueland said, “Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.”
The process of discovering and developing your creativity is challenging but definitely worthwhile. Alain Arias-Misson said, “The purpose of art is not a rarified, intellectual distillate – it is life, intensified, brilliant life.”
If we can achieve this, we will have a new sense of self with increased independence, flexibility and anticipation as well as enthusiasm. It even changes the way we see life and how we approach it. We will find life much more exciting; we will begin to sense the fact that life is an adventure. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”
The question now is: How do you know if your creativity is blocked?
Think about the following:
- Do you tell yourself that it is too late?
- Do you tell yourself you will wait til you make enough money before you do something you would really love to do?
- Do you tell yourself, that if you want to do something creative, it is just your ego pushing you?
- Do you tell yourself that dreams do not matter and that you should be more sensible?
- Are you afraid that your family and friends would think you are crazy?
- Do you tell yourself that creativity is a luxury and that you should be content with what you have?
As you discover the wondrous signs in the universe and within yourself, you will be able to move beyond creative constriction and pain; you will learn to resolve fear and strengthen your confidence.
Almighty Allah says in the Qur`an (what means): “To everything is a direction (destination, goal) to which it turns.” (Al-Baqarah 2:148)
Therefore, what the teachers should be doing, is not trying to discover if students are creative, but look for ways to help them develop their innate creativity.
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