A lot of people believe that "Art" just comes into being full blown and word perfect straight from the cosmos, the collective conscious or unconscious, spirit guides, ascended masters, muses, angels, or aliens. Would that it were so. But then think how many development execs, story editors, writing teachers, and consultants would be out of work.
Now some of you may say, "But my story came straight from a flash of inspiration down into my computer. I barely thought about it, I just wrote it down as I saw it play out in my mind." Sure, that happens. And it's exhilaratingly fabulous when it does.
But the problem is, that doesn't work all the time and if you are intending to be a writer who keeps on writing, then you need some tools that can fill in the spaces when your muse goes missing, when your task is to craft other people's inspirations into workable stories, or when you are putting your personal spin onto the timeless Mythic Themes.
The other articles in this series have addressed the nature of Conscious Media and how to use Mythic Themes, Plot Points, and Statements [Part 1]; the transformative process of Conscious Media via the Inner Drives (chakras) [Part 2]; the Five Initiations and how to use them in Spiritual Entertainment [Part 3]; using the ArchePaths to create characters [Part 4]; and using Symbols & Imagery to affect the subconscious [Part 5]. In this 6th and final installment, we'll look at something just for you, the Conscious Creator, and explore the Geography of Creativity as it relates directly to your creative process.
The Geography of Creativity
Think of an upside-down pyramid divided into four levels: The Plane of Inspiration, the Mental Plane, the Emotional Plane, the Physical Plane.
PLANE OF INSPIRATION - The top level, overshadowing the others, is the Plane of Inspiration. This is the level of ideals, abstract ideas, concepts, archetypes and ArchePaths, Mythic Themes, and the higher ideals of spiritual systems. Up here live loyalty, democracy, transformative love, equality, liberty, fraternity, and those universal concepts that continually show up across ages and cultures. This is called in some esoteric systems the Rain cloud of Knowable Things, that place from whence inspiration flows, be it via the hands of angels, aliens, or just your own ability to tap into these higher frequencies. Artists and inventors are wired to spend lots of time up in this plane. But stay there and you risk becoming a daydreamer with nothing to show for it. Learn to precipitate the inspiration down into the lower planes and you do the world a service. Do it more consciously and you'll be ever more effective at being that bridge between the aerie of the gods and us mortals who live in the three-dimensional world. Its symbol is air.
THE MENTAL PLANE - This is the world of ideas where the abstract becomes concrete. Here the concept of man being able to fly goes from mythic images of angels to blueprints of aerodynamically effective flying machines. It is about reason, logic, and appropriate order. This is where your flash of inspiration for a story that will bring people together around the concept of social or spiritual bravery and unite them to real-world action becomes a story-board and a script-in-progress with those visionary flashes fleshed out into believable characters, scenes with beginnings, middles, and ends and well-placed symbols and images. That all takes logical thought, research, trial-and-error, feedback, and the application of story-telling principles found in books, classes, and with consultants. You've had the inspiration, this is the time to apply information in an intellectual way. Its symbol is fire.
THE EMOTIONAL PLANE - Emotions are the power-factor of manifestation. Without emotions, you don't get action or results. But without intellectual discernment and planning, that action can be sloppy or come to naught. If you've done any story pitching you probably know it is enthusiasm that carries the day. You can have the best story in the room but if you don't engage the emotions of the development exec, it probably won't go anywhere. Same thing with your reading or viewing audience. You need to have emotional engagement or it's not really a story. Typically the artist goes directly from the Plane of Inspiration to the Emotional Plane, swan-diving from the heights and flights of fancy straight into great excitement. You're enthused. You're energized. That's all good. But you need to then move up into the Mental Plane in order to get the actual work done. You'll come back periodically to this Emotional Plane to renew your energy for the project, to get others involved, to sell your story, and to be sure that there is enough emotion in it to appeal to and satisfy the story needs of your audiences. Its symbol is water.
THE PHYSICAL PLANE - This is where the fingers meet the keys. It's writing out the scene particulars on note cards and putting them up on the board. It's physically attending classes. It's printing out the pages of your story and moving it on to the next steps of selling and marketing. When making your movie or TV show, the physicality is essential to transferring your initial inspiration into the imaginations of your audience. Its symbol is earth.*****
Until we perfect mental telepathy to project our stories directly to others, writers need to be fascicle in each of these four planes and to know which one to be in when. Too often people get stuck in just one or two planes.
If you fell in with the whole easy-access-to-abundance, instant gratification promises of The Secret, you may have felt that wishing does make it so, that belief equaled reality, and that desire created fulfillment. All Emotional Plane. To quasi-quote a TV shrink, "How did that work out for you?"
If you're like most of the other humans on the planet, you soon realized that you can't simply wish something into being. It takes action as well as emotion. And to create anything worthwhile, it also takes logical thought. To create anything numinous and affective beyond your own personal needs and wants, it takes reaching outside yourself and up into creative spiritual levels.
Some time ago I had written that the success of The Secret was a symptom of the excesses of the '00s. There's a new book out by Barbara Ehrenreich that seems to be along those lines, though I've not yet read it - Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America.
In the Mystery Schools, learning the Creative Process is a long, lengthy, tedious, tortuous, process (did I mention it takes a long time and it's hard work?). We're told that it is that way because once you are actually able to consciously create something you are potentially a very dangerous person. Just look what happens when ordinary people get money, fame, or power. We all have horror stories about that, particularly in the media business. There's a reason for that saying, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Legend has it that the downfall of Atlantis was brought on by the misuse of creative powers and that since then, our creative powers have been limited. Some say we're cycling back around now to that same choice-point where we can either use our creative powers wisely or once again muck it up and destroy civilization as we know it.
Now there is some very good information in The Secret and other teachings like it which focus on the Emotional Plane. Without Emotions, no creativity happens. The trick for us as writers and media content creators is not to get stuck in the glamour of the Emotional Plane and forego the other three Planes. It takes the full spectrum to create anything worthwhile.
To that end, here are the four Planes of Creativity with a brief listing of when you want to be in each of them.
INSPIRATIONAL PLANE - STEP ONE
For that initial "Aha! What a great story that would be!" For getting back on track with your original concept, particularly when time has passed, when you feel lost in the story, or when you're working with others who derail or deflect your original inspiration.
EMOTIONAL PLANE - STEP TWO
For getting the energy required to do all the hard work. For getting others involved as writing partners, producers, financiers, and marketers. For getting your relationship circles to sign on to what you're doing or not doing as you spend more and more time working on the story. For selling, promoting, and marketing your finished story.
MENTAL PLANE - STEP THREE
For doing research. For arranging the plot and structure. For crafting your characters. For selecting your symbols and imagery. For working with feedback, consultants, etc.
PHYSICAL PLANE - STEP FOUR
For actually writing the story. For attending the Hollywood premiere and receiving all those accolades, which will (quite appropriately) toss you up into the Emotional Plane to enjoy the fun and excitement of achieving your goal.
This layout of the Geography of Creativity with its four Planes gives you an effective way to go about your own creative process. When things aren't going well you'll be able to assess which Plane you're working in and whether it'd be better to move to a different plane.
If you need to be re-inspired, then get back up into the Creative Plane via meditation, music, poetry, dreams.
If you need more structure, get into the Mental Plane via books, classes and consultants as well as brain games [chess, sudoku, go, and many of the MMORPGs].
If you need re-energizing, get into the Emotional Plane with movies, dance, friends, fans, lovers.
If you need to get grounded, get into the Physical Plane with exercise, food, sensual treats (massage, aromatherapy), cleaning out files, offices, etc.
Our goal is always to be balanced and integrated in our four Planes of Creativity. The more you are conscious of where you are and how it works for you, the more creative you can be.
Wishing you all the best in using these tools and techniques of Conscious Media.