On Silence, Creativity and Personal Growth

Online managing editor Anne Simpkinson talks about how stillness and quiet can lead us to new discoveries about ourselves.

- Posted on May 23, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately, about how creating is a spiritual act because it reconnects us with the Creator—and ourselves.

Not too long ago, Therese Borchard quoted Thomas Merton in her Beyond Blue blog. The Trappist monk and bestselling author wrote:

“In silence you will discover the Great Artist from whom you emerged; you will sense the pulse of creative energy through your being so that you slowly grow to recognize that creating is your birth-right, and that you join your work with this ultimate work. But the call is nourished by the silence. We continue to return to this open space to remember who we are.”

Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean writing, dancing, painting or sculpting. It could also involve making dinner, planning a celebration for a friend; it could be finding a solution to a niggling problem at work. The only requirement is that we truly engage with the activity and in so doing touch and express our deeper selves. The silence that Merton prescribes often facilitates that ability.

With all the myriad things we must attend to in our busy lives, we sometimes skate on the surface. We forget the joy of discovery, the allure of allowing curiosity to take us down this alley and that byway; we forget the value in wool-gathering. 

So unlike Nike’s directive to “Just do it!” perhaps we’d be better served to just “Be still…”

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